How do I deal with test fatigue?
Test fatigue is when your learners are over tested. This means they are exhausted when it comes to assessing and testing. And what this means is that you can’t trust your assessment results because they don’t represent your learners’ best efforts.
Test fatigue happens for two reasons. One is when you use tests that are too long. When you ask people to concentrate for a long time, most will lose their ability to concentrate and focus after a while. The other reason is when you use tests and assessments too often.
Trying to avoid test fatigue is easy to say, but harder to do. Here are some things to try:
- Only set tests and assessments when your learners are fresh. Mornings are better than afternoons. Earlier in the week is better than later in the week.
- Limit the number of tests and assessments per day. In other words, don’t try to test everything all at once.
- Consider whether people have eaten, had a glass of water, or need a cup of tea or coffee. It takes energy to do a test. Low blood sugar can kill a test. So can dehydration. So can a hangover. Better to reschedule.
- Consider what else is going on in their lives. If someone is going through a messy breakup they will find it difficult to concentrate. Allow them some time to talk through what’s bothering them if needed.
What about your learners? Is test fatigue something you’ve already had to deal with? What about your ESOL learners? How do affective factors affect their learning?