Tackling Test Stress Tip 13: Communicate with Parents

Sometimes parents don’t know the best ways to help their children when it comes to important tests. Encourage them to reinforce their students’ efforts, like studying and doing homework, rather than focusing on making a certain grade. Suggest that they reassure their child, but avoid giving excessive reassurance, such as repeatedly saying, ‘You’ll do great!’ too much. For children who are really anxious, this reassurance may causes them to try to discredit the parent’s opinion. The NYU Child Study Center created a great letter for parents. Check it out: HELPING YOUR CHILD MANAGE TEST ANXIETY


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  1. Nicole Rock said:

    I teach middle school for a virtual school where our parents act as the “learning coach” for their students. With Arizona state tests right around the corner, we have been making efforts to help parents prepare their students for testing. I see a lot of ‘excessive reassurance’ in my class and I think it down plays the importance of the test. I agree that there needs to be a balance in the encouragement from parents so that they do not add to the anxiety, or take away from the importance of testing.

  2. Andrew Zemaitis said:

    Currently, I teach in a high school that services 3000 students. It is an urban school with a high drop out rate. Our results in state testing have placed us in dire straights with NCLB. We all feel the pressure and we all have anxiety but in the end, we must remember that it is our students that must face the gauntlet that is public school testing. I think that the letter provided as a link to your blog is a great reminder to adults of the dos and don’ts during testing time. All of the adults in our student’s lives need to make it their priority to create a testing environment of calm, peace and clarity so that our students may produce at their highest ability.

  3. Jennifer Thoman said:

    We have state tests coming up too and we also send a letter home. I am curious as to how well it will be received. To be honest, I wonder how many will actually read it. It seems like a lot of our parents fall into 1 of 2 categories. They praise excessively, or are not concerned at all. I wish there was some way to find a balance.

  4. Russ Kile said:

    Great suggestions. Creating an opportunity for parents to have direct but limited interest in their child’s testing will help more than just test performance. Giving parents specific information on what to say is also important so they do not over or under-play their role and understand the ramifications of their interaction.

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