Do stress relieving strategies have a positive effect on test scores and on the student's well-being?
Life is stressful. Testing is stressful. Some third grade students simply do not have the emotional toolkit to cope with the stress associated with school and testing that they need in order to thrive. In this capstone project I focused on teaching my students how to take deep breaths to calm down and the importance of building grit.
Managing Emotions to Help take Tests and to Help Student Success
Many students lack the expressive language skills necessary in order to pass standardized tests and perform well in school. In this study students were taught strategies to gain emotional self regulation skills in order to be successful in the classroom, in testing, and beyond.
Third grade is a big year. It's the last year students are part of the "lower grades" and it's the first year they are subject to taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP. As the long title suggests the test is long and grueling. It very much reminds me of another terrible and long test, the dreaded: SAT. However, the SAT is designed to assess students twice the age of 3rd graders. By the time students have reached an age where they are able to take the SAT they will have developed their own ways to manage their emotions.
Many students come from homes where poverty, hunger, abuse, racism are the norm. These experiences follow them to school where they are expected to turn what happened at home off and turn their learning brains on. Anyone who is dealing with something catastrophic at home knows that it can be consuming even when trying to be productive in spite of it.
The subjects of this action research project were one class of 25 third grade students. I recorded data via Google Form surveys of the Westside Test Anxiety Rating Scale. Students learned to take deep breaths while following along with GoNoodle movement videos. The goal of the action research was to reduce the test anxiety scores from high to low.
Students took a math test. Following the math test they engaged with the Rainbow Breath GoNoodle video and submitted their stress levels on the Google Form. Only 8 students reported having low test anxiety on the scale.
Prior to taking a math test the whole class did the Rainbow Breath GoNoodle video and immediately recorded their test anxiety on the Google Form before their math test. The number of students with low test anxiety increased from 8 to 15.
Finally students recorded their test anxiety on the Google Form prior to taking their math test. The final form branched so that students who recorded high levels of test anxiety were able to view the Rainbow Breath video multiple times. The number of students with low test anxiety increased to 17.
Press play for a brief overview of my capstone.