Math anxiety need not undermine students during critical standardized test season. Addressing the most common mistakes when preparing for standardized tests can reduce test anxiety. According to Dawn Catalano, owner of the Belden Village Mathnasium franchise in Canton, Ohio, the key is to focus on the three C’s. These are Concept, Comprehension, and Calculation. And by concentrating on these areas, students in Stark County, Ohio and other parts of Northeast Ohio can succeed.
Math anxiety can easily undermine the hard work students have put in throughout the year, lowering their scores on standardized tests and jeopardizing their chances to take advanced classes or enroll in the schools of their choice. But reducing math anxiety, a well-documented phenomenon, can prevent this.
Dawn explains that students can reduce test anxiety by reviewing the mistakes they make in homework assignments and practice exams. By grouping these errors into three categories, easily remembered as the three C’s, students can perform in a manner that accurately represents their ability.
The Three C’s
1. Concept – understanding the methods needed to solve specific problem types.
2. Comprehension – determining exactly what individual problems are asking students to do.
3. Calculation – solving the problem correctly without making errors or oversights.
“When faced with test questions for which they are not properly prepared or have had trouble with in the past, students can become gripped with math anxiety. However, they can address the root cause by reviewing past assignments and practice tests. Often, the cause lies in difficulties with one or more of the three C’s: Concept, Comprehension, and Calculation. After identifying where exactly a student’s weaknesses lie, adults can help address them. This allows students to move on from anxiety and perform at the level of their true potential,” Dawn says.
As a first step, parents, teachers or private instructors can sit down with students and look at the types of errors they’ve made in homework assignments, regular tests and practice exams. And this works for students in and beyond Northeast Ohio to include Canton and surrounding areas in Stark County. It’s also a process that can be helpful anytime during the academic year. Although Dawn places added emphasis on its use when students become anxious about math or begin preparing for standardized tests.
To address concept challenges, students can be asked to break questions down into a series of meaningful parts, resolve these parts individually, and then put them back together. Children struggling with both Concept and Comprehension can be asked to read troublesome questions aloud. This helps to strengthen the mechanics of understanding by invoking different parts of the brain. Another helpful approach is to ask students to reframe questions in their own words.
To help students overcome Calculation difficulties, Dawn suggests that beyond rote practice, which is more appropriate in this situation than the others, it’s crucial to make sure a child’s written work is neat and clear. “Neat penmanship makes a huge difference in kids’ ability to think clearly and follow their own good reasoning,” Dawn says.
As the day of the test approaches, children should also take some common-sense steps that can be applied to all types of tests. First, avoid last-minute cramming by learning to pace yourself and structuring a daily study plan. Make sure to eat a healthy, high-protein breakfast the morning of the exam. Then, in the testing room, STOP and close your eyes. Take a moment to inhale deeply. When you exhale, open your eyes and envision the test with an “I can do” mindset.
Studies have shown math anxiety to impact up to half of all students. However, with the proper approach it can be effectively addressed and need not be a permanent hindrance to performance. And Mathnasium, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, can help. Locally, Dawn and her team in Stark County, Ohio show students of all grade levels and from all parts of Northeast Ohio how to reduce test anxiety when preparing for standardized tests. They also help students catch up, keep up, and get ahead in math all year. To find out if Mathnasium is right for your student, go to www.Mathnasium.com or call Dawn at 330.492.6284.
4644 Belden Village Street NW
Canton, Ohio 44718