Prior to test days:
Send notes home to parents and guardians asking that they help students:
- Get plenty of rest on nights before testing.
- Eat a healthy breakfast on test days. (Also make sure a healthy breakfast is available for students who participate in a school meal program.)
- Be at the bus stop on time, or arrive at school on time.
Set the physical classroom climate for testing.
Some schools require desks to be in straight rows. If possible, consider letting everyone get in their own space. Children might put their desk facing walls, in corners, anywhere that they feel is "their own space." Some kids might need to be facing a bookshelf and not looking at another student, etc. Discuss a place in the room that allows students to feel alone and secure. Kids often know what they need. Be sure to make this a common practice and not a one-time routine.
Engage in movement exercises.
Help students relax, and get blood flowing. Lead the students in a Tai Chi-type routine, making sure that bending and crossover (right hand to left foot) actions are included. Students might jog in place and have some free movement. The movement not only helps students diffuse energy, but also increases the blood flow to the brain.
Be present for your students.
Children usually perform best when tested by the teacher that teaches that subject. If that isn’t possible or if students will be taking tests in their homeroom with a different teacher, make certain that the teacher who teaches the tested subjects goes into the testing site and walks through. (A monitor would be in the teacher’s room.) Walk around making eye contact and offering verbal and non-verbal encouragement to each student. Pat students on the back or touch their shoulders. Let the students know that you believe that they will do well and that you are pulling for them.
During transition times:
Listen to Baroque music.
Play Baroque Music at 60 beats per minute, such as J.S. Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze." Research has shown that this type of music actually releases alpha waves in both the left and right sides of our brains. In doing this, it helps us to fell calm, similar to whistling a happy tune.