I first heard about the STAAR test (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) when my daughter was in 2nd grade, after we’d just moved to the US. She came home one day and told me about this boy... Rumor had it that this boy had failed the test several years in a row, which stopped him from moving up to the next grade. He was now 15 years old and still in elementary school...!
From that day onwards, the pressure was on. It was still a year away, but already parents were preparing their kids for this much-dreaded test. They were emphasizing the importance of paying attention during class and putting effort into completing their homework in a neat and timely manner. They would also spend extra time and money on extra-curricular tutoring for their children. At school, teachers and students would work hard to prepare for STAAR, STAAR, STAAR.
This sequence of events is repeated annually. Last week, elementary and middle school students (grades 3-8) across North Texas sat down for the STAAR test. Round 2 will follow in the second week of May.
Critics say that this standardized test undermines true learning, development and creativity, because students learn how to take a test, rather than understanding the contents of the subjects being tested.
The issue I want to address doesn’t concern the educational value of the test. It concerns the subjective wellbeing of the students.
I’ve noticed that some students and their parents are adversely impacted in anticipation of the STAAR. They feel tense, agitated and pessimistic, or they report negative emotions like anxiety or anger.
How does this impact personal wellbeing and eventually the performance on the STAAR test? How can we deal with this stress in a productive way?
In the world today, performance-based challenges like this are very common and it won't be the last time you or your child(ren) will face a situation like this. I hope this blog will support you in dealing with those future situations effectively, and in such a way that it sustains and promotes your overall wellbeing and happiness.
I decided to split this blog up into 3 parts, this being Part 1.
In Part 2, I will share some information derived from the scientifically supported field of (Positive) Psychology, which will help you understand ‘The Power Of Our Brain’ and ‘The Power Of Positive Emotions’ on our wellbeing and (academic) performance.
The purpose of Part 3 is for you to walk away with some practical tips & tricks, that you can start using straight away.