Teachers Motivating Kids During Testing

The season of standardized tests can be stressful for students and parents alike 1. Although parents want their children to perform well, they must balance between pushing for success and recognizing when their kids need a break. Do your part to make sure your child is confident, well rested and energetic on test day. There are a few motivational strategies you can expect your child's teacher to employ as well.

Group Motivation

Getting students together for a motivational rally just before and after a big test is a way to boost students’ energy and confidence for the exam. Even though test taking is technically an individual activity, a rally will make students feel as if they’re accomplishing a collaborative goal. Just like with team sports, the group dynamic makes individuals feel stronger. The Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada, recommends creating a video to show at the rally, featuring older students who have already survived the test, telling younger students that they can do it too. The rally is also an ideal time to review test-taking tips.


Students should have visible reminders that they are supported during the challenge of testing time. Banners with encouraging slogans should be placed around the school and classroom. Teachers should also collaborate with students in creating T-shirts, buttons and posters to get everyone in the spirit of success. Posting colorful charts that show group goals might also be helpful.


Incentives are another effective way to motivate students during testing. The Scholastic website suggests teachers provide students with healthy, energy-boosting snacks before the exam, such as fruit juice, granola bars and graham crackers. Others incentives to make sure students attend on testing day include movie passes, no-homework passes and pizza parties. Some teachers also provide students with certificates for learning certain test tips or meeting reading or study goals. The important thing is to find a way to motivate students to show up and do their best. The Scholastic site also reports that some teachers permit students to chew gum or suck on peppermint candy during testing to help them maintain their focus and concentration.

Testing Environment

Creating a soothing test atmosphere can also motivate students. Some teachers soften the lights, play soft music, enhance the room with appealing scents and move the desks around so the environment feels more spacious.