ERB Testing is Next Week: A Few Ways to Support Worried Students
ERB assessments are coming to grades 3–6 next week. For some of our students it will be just another assignment or task to complete. For other students, though, this is a time that might trigger anxiety and concern over the process, requirements, and outcomes.
ERB stands for the Educational Records Bureau, which is a non-profit educational organization that produces tests for thousands of schools. Aside from the tests students will be administered next week, ERB also produces the ISEE, which is used for independent school admission.
Kingsley teachers have spent time helping students prepare by administering practice tests, reviewing results, and offering suggestions around how to select answers. All of these have given the students an opportunity to practice in a safe test environment with no risks. It’s like the Celtics spending time on the court, running their plays at full speed before a big game. The idea is to prepare students for the type of environment they will be tested in, how to read the questions to gain the greatest accuracy, and when to use their fund of knowledge to answer questions.
Even with all of this preparation to make students comfortable, there are some who feel anxiety over both the process and the outcomes. I am offering some tips to assist your child if they should express concern or show anxiety due to the testing. This is not a complete list of thoughts, but a few that I think will help students to move through next week.
- Get enough sleep! If students have a poor sleep night prior to testing, it might impact them on the test day. They may feel moody, lethargic, and unmotivated to settle in. Additionally, for some students, their ability to focus might be impeded due to their exhaustion. Fortunately, all testing takes place in the morning so as the hours pass and their energy diminishes, it will be less impactful on their performance.
- Be mindful of screen time. Research has shown that screen time in the evening can hinder our sleep. Setting an early curfew on technology will allow your child to settle in and prepare their brain for sleep. I am sure that some students will crave the use of their technology after the school day, but this is an important step.
- Eat a good breakfast. Even if your child prefers to take a snack bar to school, try to serve them breakfast at home. A nutritious breakfast ensures their brain is powered up for sitting and answering questions. And packing equally nutritious snacks for test breaks is also a good idea!
- Learn some test strategies. The teachers have been introducing all students to various strategies for answering questions on tests like the ERBs. You can remind your child to utilize the strategies they have been taught in school. They have learned to read through the question thoroughly, find what the test question is asking, look at all of the answers, bubble in the correct row, and check their work before handing in the test. They have been given strategies for tricky questions as well.
- Remind them of all they have learned. You can help reinforce what teachers have explained: many of the ERB questions cover subject matter students have already learned. The tests are not “high stakes tests,” but are used to inform the school about teaching practices and the student’s fund of knowledge. Teachers have spent a lot of time explaining why students need not worry about the ERBs, and they will continue to reassure them in the upcoming week.
We understand that even with these strategies and reminders in place, some students will still have anxiety around the actual testing sessions. If that is the case, treat your child to something after school that shows you understand how they are feeling. It might be a walk, a game, something special at dinner, or going out for an ice cream—anything that will reinforce that you understand how they feel. Come next Friday morning, this year’s ERBs will be in the past and they can move forward into a fun spring.
Thank you, as always, for partnering with the school to make your child’s learning experience the best it can be.
Until next time…
B.J. Cataldo, Ed.D.