Test Anxiety

[Updated Below]

Never had it in high school, because I never cared. Never had it in college or law school, because I did the necessary work ahead of time. Have it as a teacher.

Today, I’m giving them their last test of the first quarter. It covers the last two weeks, the subject being the Articles of Confederation through the ratification of the Constitution. We’ve taken our time. We’ve read pages and answered questions. We’ve completed charts and diagrams. I’ve given them small amounts of notes every day. We reviewed yesterday. I updated them on their current grade to provide an incentive. They know if they fail they have to turn all their wrong answers into correct statements and write them three times each. Now it’s go time and they ought to be ready.

I really, really, really want them to do well. I want all A’s. Or at least no failures. Students don’t believe it, but teachers like to see them succeed. It makes us happy. It also makes me feel like I’ve done my job. And it’s a nice, neat, clean wrap up to a well organized unit. So I’m nervous.

I shouldn’t be, though. Past performances are a good indicator that at least a third of them will flunk the test. That’s depressing. I try not to give tests on Fridays, or at least not grade them on Fridays, because it only aggravates me for the weekend. So I ought not be nervous; I know what to expect.

Still, every time, I think, this is it. This is the time they all actually take my advice and start studying a few days before the test. This is the one where everybody makes a decent grade. In other words, I always hope.

Will I be disapointed? Probably. Will I go through the same cycle in another two weeks? Definately.

[Update] Well, that was a pleasant surprise.

Initially, I thought they had done worse than usual. My first hour class is my brightest, and while grading their tests, I was seeing very few A’s, much less than usual. I was really irritated and even told them that they were in for a long day today. Second hour was also going poorly. Then I noticed everyone was getting the same two questions wrong. I checked the key, and sure enough, it was incorrect. After adding four points to every test I had graded, and using the correct key for the rest of the day, my mood improved significantly.

At the end of the day, 75% earned a C or better. Usually, if half the group is in that territory, I’m happy. So, either: a) They did a good job hiding their cheat sheets; b) I did a much better job than usual teaching the material, or; c) They actually studied. I’m pretty good at policing, so I don’t think it’s A. I taught this the same way I do every other subject, which eliminates B. That means C is the answer. Hopefully they keep it up.

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2 Comments on “Test Anxiety”

  1. Hot Momma Says:

    Yippee! I’m glad they didn’t disappoint you, Wheeler 🙂

  2. Steph Says:

    When are you going to post another quiz like you did back in the day? My brain needs stimulation!

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