Anxiety is a common issue that affects many of our pupils and it can have a significant impact on their academic and personal lives. One area where anxiety can be particularly challenging in schools is in the realm of exams and tests. Test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety that can cause students to feel anxious, stressed, or even physically ill during exams and assessments.
As teachers, it's crucial that we are aware of the impact that test anxiety can have on our pupils. When it becomes overwhelming, it can lead to poor academic performance, social isolation, and even physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and difficulty sleeping.
One effective way to monitor and measure test anxiety is through the use of the Multidimensional Test Anxiety Scale (MTAS).
This survey consists of 18 items that assess different dimensions of test anxiety, such as worry, interference, and concentration. By administering the MTAS survey, teachers can gain valuable insights into the specific areas where pupils may be struggling.
These insights can be used to provide targeted interventions and support systems, such as stress-reduction programs, counseling services, or accommodations for students with test anxiety.
If you are interested in running this survey in your school, make sure to get in touch with the BounceTogether team. They can run the survey for you, set everything up, score the questions, and provide your results in a professionally formatted report for just £99. To run the survey - click here
It's important to remember that test anxiety is just one aspect of a more complex issue in schools. There are many other sources of anxiety that pupils may experience, such as social anxiety, separation anxiety, and generalised anxiety disorders.
It's crucial for educators to be aware of these different types of anxiety and to develop strategies for addressing them. Here are some ways we can help children cope with anxiety:
- Promote a culture of openness and understanding around mental health
It's important to create a safe and supportive environment where pupilss feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for pupils to talk about their feelings and concerns, such as through peer support groups or mental health awareness campaigns.
- Educate pupils about anxiety
Teaching pupils about anxiety can help them to understand and manage their symptoms. They can learn coping strategies, such as relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and positive self-talk, that can help them to manage their anxiety.
- Provide accommodations for pupils with test anxiety
Accommodations such as extra time or a quiet testing environment can be helpful for pupils with test anxiety. By providing accommodations, we can help to reduce the stress and pressure that pupils with test anxiety may feel during exams or assessments.
- Encourage mindfulness practices
Mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. Encouragingpupils to practice mindfulness can help them to feel more relaxed and focused, reducing their anxiety levels.
- Seek professional support
If a pupil is struggling with anxiety, it may be necessary to seek professional support. School counselors, mental health professionals, or outside agencies can provide additional support and resources. The Mental Health Foundation also offer a lot of support, guidance, and resources for pupils, teachers, and parents. You can access these - here
By incorporating these strategies into our classrooms and schools, we can create a supportive environment that helps pupils to manage their anxiety. The insights gained from the MTAS survey can be especially helpful in identifying those who may be struggling with test anxiety, and providing targeted interventions and support systems.