Five Ways to Make Exams Less Painful for Kids

It's that time of year- mid term exams.  My kids are stressed about them.  My students at school are stressed too.  Many teachers think that exams help students learn.  We think that they motivate kids or that exams serve as some kind of academic vegetable dish- not very tasty but good for you.  

Exams are part of our education system and there actually are a few things we can do to make them tolerable for students.

So what can you do starting this year?  Here are some examples:

  1. Do away with exams all together.  While this is a stretch for most schools, it actually is possible to do away with mid-term and final exams.  Portfolios, oral presentations and capstone projects are all ways to circumvent the "exam" frenzy this time of year.
  2. Minimize announcements before and after exams.  As in the a.m. blurbs over the P.A. system- cut them down dramatically during exam week.
  3. Make it fun.  Why not host a pizza party to mark the end of exams and celebrate?
  4. Teach your teachers to chill out.  Many teachers, instead of easing kids into the routine of exams, heap more stress on them.  Help them be calm and nourish calm before, during and after the testing period.
  5. Challenge your leadership team to rethink exams.  Is there a smarter way to do them?  Is your schedule conducive to student success?  Ask the tough questions so that your school's approach to exams always stays fresh.

So here's the deal- you could do all of these things.  The real question is, will you?