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Tips can help students through testing season

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Test time has arrived. For the next two weeks, students will be scratching their heads over questions, filling in bubbles and calling on everything they’ve learned in the past year.

Elementary and middle school students will be taking state assessments, including end-of-grade exams, through Monday. High school students begin their exams next week.

It can be a stressful time of year for children, teachers and parents. But there are some simple supports families can provide to help students succeed.

Tina Mashburn, director of middle school education for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, calls the following supports “nourishment for your brain and body.”

For students to be in top performing shape for the big test, they should:

  • Get a full, restful night’s sleep.
  • Eat a good breakfast the morning of the test.
  • Arrive to school on time.

“We would hope that that’s the pattern for the entire school year,” Mashburn said.

But if it hasn’t been, it’s especially important in the coming days. Studies have shown that getting plenty of sleep the night before a test or a big event helps the brain and body function at the top of its form. And a good breakfast “wakes up the brain cells.”

“I know it sounds simple, but those are the things that really do make a big impact,” she said.

It’s also important for students to have laptops and iPads fully charged each day, as some assessments are now taken digitally.

“And this is across the board, for all grade spans,” Mashburn said.

There are a few other steps parents can take to help their child do their best over the next two weeks and to ensure that they’re in good mental and emotional shape for a test, as well as physical.

“It’s really about de-stressing, just being calm and relaxed and giving lots of encouragement,” she said.

During testing season, simple encouragements and emotional supports can go a long way toward making sure a student is calm, collected and ready for the test. Mashburn said teachers have been mindful of the stress because of testing for the past several weeks and have worked on building students up.

“This is just an opportunity to see what you have learned and what we can do to help in the future,” Mashburn said staff have been telling students.

Tests are a chance for students to show off the skills they’ve learned throughout the year — it’s something they’ve been working toward for months — and Mashburn said she knows the children can handle it.

“Do your best; just be awesome,” she said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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