Mohuch22 asks:

Is there a learning disability that prevents kids from doing well on standardized tests?


Question asked after reading:
In Topics: Learning issues and special needs, Tests (preparing, taking, anxiety!), State education standards
> 60 days ago



Jul 18, 2010
Subscribe to Expert

What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

I really feel for your daughter and hope that I may offer some assistance.
Your daughter may have what is known as "test anxiety".  She has studied and studied but has learned from past experiences that studying does not always end with a great result. Therefore, she becomes very nervous or has a problem with time management and concentration during "official" and formal tests.  

See if there are any school-wide or local programs where she can learn strategies to take formal tests and also practice them in a "formal" setting.  Feeling comfortable with the test layout often helps to reduce the anxiety. Learning a few techniques such as "key phrases" may be helpful, too.

Also, if she is identified as officially  "learning disabled", you may be able to ask for accommodations that allows for extra time or a separate room from peers to complete the test.  A discussion with the school guidance counselor may also prove helpful.

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
Host of the radio show- Learning and Laughter with Louise!

Did you find this answer useful?

Additional Answers (2)

sirenssong writes:
many children of higher intelligence who otherwise are successful in school do not do well on tests.  Sometimes it is stress, yes.  However, I have experienced many children who simply do not do well on written tests and need to have oral.  Or who do better at projects and papers, but have problems understanding what to study and how to recall the information.  

The brain is a complex organ with different parts organizing memory and recall.  One half is where the short term memory is stored.  If 'cramming ' for a test, the brain will store in short term memory.  This side of the brain is the logic, mathematical, black and white (literally seeing things in black and white) part.  The long term memory storage is in color, stored with emotions, stories, and memories.  If the short term memory is not converted to "color'...the brain will quickly forget the material.  (who of us remembers the periodic table of elements? or the names and dates of important civil war battles?)

Sometimes the brain does not "connect" the hemispheres, and when that happens, the child cannot remember the information that they have recently learned.  Particularly if it is learned out of dry textbooks or notes in black and white.  

One thing to try is studying things in color, colored notes, pictures to help ideas "stick" and creating movies in your mind about the topic. Making up songs about the test to get the material to 'stick' or even creating a little play about the topic. Have her draw pictures of things as she makes notes.  

You might also have her assessed. If she is having a hard time writing (dysgraphia) as the disability is writing processing she will not be able to covert her thoughts to paper.
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
Karenmom writes:
Hi Mohuch22,
You already have good answers and possible solutions to the testing, but I would like to add that some people do have a depth/spatial perception problem that prohibits them to see the test properly.

Example:  Some tests that have multiple choice and have only a circle to color in, would be a test that they would have difficulty with.  They can read the question, understand the question, recognize the answer, but when they go to mark the proper space, miss it, due to they are not on the circle they thought they was on.  You'll particularly see this on the long EOG tests.  Our school provides a different test, same questions, just a different way of answering.  Instead of the student coloring in a circle, they get to just circle the entire answer removing the possibility of coloring in the wrong space.  This may be something that you want to check into.  You should be able to speak to your teacher about this and she could recommend your child be evaluated just to rule out that possible cause.  If she is found to have this problem, your school should offer therapy to treat the condition and the teachers would be most co-operative in providing your daughter with an alternative test.  

Best wishes!
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
Answer this question


You are about to choose ${username}'s answer as the best answer.

Cancel | Continue

*You can change the best answer in the future if you think that you received a better answer

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely