Taking tests can cause anxiety for anyone, but it can be especially stressful for students with learning disabilities or learning differences. As standardized testing season approaches, it's important to think about how to create a testing environment that is ideal for students with learning differences and ensure test-taking success. Here are a few tips to get it done.
To create an ideal testing environment for students with learning differences, start by getting organized. Make sure your children have everything they will need to take the tests, including calculators, paper, erasers and pencils or other writing tools. Also, consider assistive devices that help with grammar and spelling during exams with essays.
Make It Comfortable
Set your students up for success by creating a comfortable seating arrangement. Use chairs that have backs and arm rests. Also, set up a testing environment that has minimal distractions from other students when possible, such as using a testing site that has individual testing rooms, cubicles or dividers. By minimizing distractions and using comfortable seating, you can help your children focus more on their test and less on the distraction.
Give a Preview
Sometimes students who have learning disabilities are anxious because they don't know what to expect; knowing what to expect can help ease test-taking anxiety for children who are already struggling academically. You can help ease test-taking anxiety by giving them a preview of the testing site when possible. Take a tour of the testing center or even show your children what the testing center looks like online either via images or a video tour. By helping your children get familiar with the testing center before they take the test, you can help reduce testing anxiety.
Make Arrangements in Advance
Your children will likely need more time than others to get their tests completed. They may also need a place that has fewer interruptions from students who may get up to turn in their tests. Make the testing environment more ideal by arranging additional testing time in advance. Also, consider using a proxy to monitor your children's testing while at a quiet location, such as the library. Some schools may also offer the option to take oral exams, which is helpful for students who have difficulty writing their answers out, such as students with dysgraphia.
Taking tests doesn't have to be an anxiety-filled event for students with learning differences when you set up the right testing environment to accommodate their needs. By making preparations in advance and removing or reducing distractions, you can create a testing environment that's a safe and relaxing setting for students with learning differences.