Research-Based Practices to Alleviate Test Anxiety

Research-Based Practices to Alleviate Test Anxiety

Tired and stressed-looking boy struggling with homework could benefit from Fit Learning's research-based approach to anxiety-free learning

“My child is smart, it’s just that his test anxiety gets in the way.”

“I know he/she could do better if they just had more confidence.”

Have you ever found yourself saying these things about your child? Frustrated that, despite the hard work you see them doing, it doesn’t seem to “pay off”? Searching for an academic acceleration program that cares about the whole child? Look no further!

At Fit Learning, we don’t just specialize in the science of education, but in the science of BEHAVIOR. That means, your concerns about confidence, distraction, and other barriers to academic success can be addressed with our comprehensive curriculum.


By identifying core skill deficits, using what decades of behavioral and learning science taught us, and applying the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT).

What is ACT?

ACT was born from psychology and behavioral science to address the thoughts and feelings (think anxiety, fear, self-sabotage, negative statements) that often show themselves in observable behaviors.

What does that mean? How can you measure fear/anxiety/thoughts/feelings?

We can’t easily measure what goes on inside the body, but we can measure what happens as a result. Unwanted thoughts show up in behaviors we can see. Just a few examples include negative self-talk, inflexibility surrounding making errors, lack of effort, and arguing with a teacher.

“I can’t do it!”

“I’m not good at math.”

“This is too hard.”

These may be some ways that your learner lets you know that they are struggling.

At Fit Learning, we use research-based practices to help address these concerns.

First, we identify things that are important to your child (e.g., being a hard-worker, having lots of friends, being a good sports player, a good brother or sister, etc.) to relate how some of the behaviors that reflect fear or anxiety or feelings of low self-worth may be holding them back from reaching their goals.

We also meet them where they are. If they say “Hanging out with my friends is important,” we assure them that their hard work at Fit will help them be able to spend more time with friends.

How can hard work at Fit Learning be related to spending more time with friends?

Several ways! We can partner with parents to have a learner earn time with friends based on performance at Fit. Then we explain that the harder you try at Fit, the better you become at math/reading/etc. and the LESS time it takes you to do homework and the more time you have to go outside and play with friends after school.

If a learner engages in work refusal, we begin rewarding increases in time spent completing work.

Saying negative comments? We reward a reduction in negative self-talk or increases in positive statements.

Arguing with the coach? We start rewarding their ability to be “flexible” by allowing or trusting their coach to help them succeed!

How else do we help?

We focus on PERSONAL bests. We don’t compare your child to other learners, instead each learner is working to improve upon their previous performances. It’s a true game changer when you begin to make the connection that what matters most is being better than yourself yesterday, or a minute ago and the only way to do that, is to keep trying!

Katie Harris, Outcomes Coordinator

Katie brings five years of experience in the field of behavior science to her role as Outcomes Coordinator and Case Manager at Fit Learning St. Louis. She previously worked in the field of behavior science in Missouri and Louisiana.

She graduated from University of New Orleans before earning her Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, MO. Kate is a member of Psi Chi Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, and Alpha Chi Honor Society.

Katie loves going for walks near the lake with her dog and drinking bubble tea. Celebrating with learners and watching their confidence grow when they achieve their goals is her favorite part of the job!