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Editorial: MAP testing

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have you ever had test anxiety -- a feeling of fear before taking a major test? We have probably all had this experience. Yet through strategies being employed by Southeast Missouri schools, it's a feeling that can be diminished.

Missouri students are gearing up for the latest round of MAP testing, a series of examinations for third- to eighth-grade students. And while these important tests -- Missouri's way of complying with the No Child Left Behind Act -- could pose a chance for nervousness, educators are finding ways to ease their students' anxiety.

At Alma Schrader Elementary School, third- and fourth-grade students have the opportunity to run down the hallways and tear down banners before taking the MAP tests. Other tension-releasing strategies for the younger children include rewards, celebrations and affirmations of success.

While activities to relieve stress are important, a key aspect in the students' preparation and confidence entering their MAP tests is the academic reinforcement teachers provide throughout the school year. Cramming for a test provides little long-term value, but having a curriculum that reinforces major concepts throughout the school year -- like many Southeast Missouri schools have -- does make an impact.

While the MAP exams are critical for schools and their funding, it's good to see that educators are finding ways to ease student anxiety -- a tool that is sure to benefit student performance.

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If your think a 3rd grader puts too much pressure on themselves while taking a test you're badly mistaken. Most, if not all, could care less. The ones needing the anxiety reliever are the teachers, especially if HB 628 goes through. The MAP is a joke and always has been. Teaching all year with an emphasis on one test is not good teaching. Everyone in education knows it and are afraid to speak against it because it's not popular to complain about anything nowdays. Besides you might lose your job.

-- Posted by wolfwoman on Tue, Mar 15, 2011, at 8:50 AM

I'm not a fan of MAP or NCLB either Papi. I agree that it causes anxiety for teachers, and administrators.

However, I respectfully disagree with your statement "If you think a 3rd grader puts too much pressure on themselves while taking a test you're badly mistaken. Most, if not all, could care less."

The majority of young students may not, but I believe the number that do is much higher than you would think. Unfortunately, I know of several that do.

-- Posted by farmmom1 on Tue, Mar 15, 2011, at 11:30 AM

Wow, I guess I've been out of school too long. I think 3 graders are eight years old aren't they? I really don't want my grandkids to be test stressed. I just want them to learn in an enviornment that creates learning opportunities that makes them eager to learn. I think the whole idea of everyone on the same page, same day etc is way out of line. To put too much stress on an eight year old might not be the best thing. I feel sorry for those pressured eight year olds.

-- Posted by wolfwoman on Tue, Mar 15, 2011, at 8:20 PM

AMEN! I was working with my child on homework last night, and I struggled with the material myself. The schools (and consequently the teachers) are forced to teach elementary students things that we learned in junior high. It is ridiculous. Every child has a different learning style. There are so many talented teachers out there that are not only capable, but they willing to go the extra mile to help all of these children reach their potential. In my opinion, MAP and NCLB are doing both our children and our teachers a great disservice.

-- Posted by farmmom1 on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 10:39 AM

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