Minimizing exam and assessment anxiety is crucial for promoting academic success. The key to reducing test anxiety in college students is creating an environment that encourages students to focus. Educators can empower students to concentrate on their assessments and perform at their best.
With a digital or online assessment platform, you can customize this environment, ensuring your assessment caters to each student. However, it’s important that a new platform doesn’t equal more anxiety for learners.
In this article, we will explore four strategies specifically addressing how to help students with test anxiety. Each showing the importance of providing ongoing support to students.
1. Provide Information in a Variety of Formats
To ensure students can prepare for their exams and reduce test anxiety, it is essential to provide information in multiple formats. This also applies to introducing digital and online assessments, both on site and remotely.
We all recognize that students have diverse learning preferences and specific needs. Using a combination of written guidance, tutorial videos, and drop-in sessions can cater to different learning styles.
Written guidance documents can offer step-by-step instructions and tips for utilizing the digital or online assessment platform. These documents should be specific to your institution. They should also be clear, concise, and accessible, ensuring that students can easily refer to them whenever needed. Inspera can provide you with guidance on how to create effective documentation.
Instructional videos provide visual demonstrations, allowing students to observe the platform in action and gain a deeper understanding of its features. Visual demonstrations can be particularly helpful for students who prefer visual and auditory learning. These videos can cover topics such as accessing assessments, navigating the platform, submitting answers and accessing feedback.
As you know from your office hours, in-person or virtual drop-in sessions provide students with an opportunity to ask questions and receive support. You can use these meetings to promote engagement and ensure that students are well-prepared for their digital or online assessments. Good preparation can go a long way in helping students deal with test anxiety.
2. Build Familiarity Through Practice
Offer your students a practice environment to use a digital or online assessment platform from the start of their programme. Practice tests can significantly help students who feel anxious in high stakes testing environments. These assessments should use sample questions of the type they might face in their online exams. In this way it will help students feel more at ease with both the exam conditions and the online assessment platform itself. This includes its interface, layout, functionalities, and available options.
There are two ways you can approach practice digital or online assessment design:
- Educators can choose to incorporate sample questions related to their field of study. This method provides students with a realistic view of the types of questions they may encounter in their assessments. They can also use this as a way of assessing their subject-specific knowledge and build their confidence. Overall, this approach helps them align their expectations and focus their preparation .
- Educators can opt for questions from unrelated subjects to emphasize platform familiarization. By presenting students with different question types, they can explore the various features and digital assessment tools available. This promotes adaptability and ensures that students are well-equipped to navigate the digital assessment environment effectively, regardless of the specific content they encounter.
3. Foster Familiarity by Using the Same Platform
Using the same digital or online assessment platform for all exams can help enhance focus and reduce test anxiety in students. This includes all online formative assessments or summative, exams and take-home assignments.
Using a consistent platform throughout the academic year allows students to acquaint themselves with its navigation and functionality. This familiarity enables them to focus their energy on the task at hand rather than spending time adjusting to different platforms.
Consistency in the digital or online assessment platform also promotes a sense of ease and confidence. Students can leverage their prior knowledge of the platform, allowing them to perform at their highest level without unnecessary distractions.
Education purchasers should also ensure that the chosen digital or online assessment platform provides a user-friendly interface and clear instructions. The platform should facilitate completion of assessments, such as the ability to save progress and access reference materials.
4. Offer Ongoing Support and Communication
Just like any type of assessment or program, continuous communication helps ensure that students remain focused and confident.
Regular check-ins with students, individual or group, allow educators to gauge students’ understanding and address any concerns or needs. These check-ins can take place through virtual office hours, email exchanges, or in the digital or online assessment platform itself.
Students can gain confidence and better control their fear of failure by being provided with timely feedback on practice assessments. Likewise, engaging in peer-to-peer feedback goes a long way in overcoming test anxiety while enhancing their understanding.
Additionally, educators can use these opportunities to direct students to more resources. These could look like support services that help with managing test anxiety for students. You can also provide information about academic support centers and counseling services.
By acknowledging and addressing the emotions behind assessment anxiety, educators can create an environment that nurtures student wellbeing and resilience.
Digital Assessments Are Like Any Other Assessment
In conclusion, ensuring that students can focus on their digital assessments and overcome assessment anxiety requires a multifaceted and proactive approach. Using the above four test taking strategies, educators can create an environment conducive to student success. These empower students to navigate the digital or online assessment platform confidently, reduce anxiety, and concentrate on demonstrating their knowledge and skills.
By prioritizing comprehensive guidance, practice, and ongoing support, educators contribute to the academic success and wellbeing of their students, enabling them to reach their full potential.
Written by Ishan KolhatkarJuly 31, 2023