Course Resource Kit

Anxiety and Mental Health

Designing assessments that are delivered to students in an open and transparent way can go a long way to reduce student anxiety or otherwise trigger mental health issues. 

Use full disclosure under the principle that when students know what is going to happen, it is to their benefit and this will also reduce the amount of questions you may have to address as well.  

While covering the content during the term, instructors can use a variety of techniques to assist students prepare for both formative and summative evaluations. These include:

  • During lectures, clearly identify content as within or outside the bounds of being assessed. Delineating between material that could appear on an assessment and that which is interesting but not going to be assessed is appreciated by students
  • Use classroom time for student-led discussions about issue(s) they deem as challenging
  • Ensure students know about your office hours and invite them to see you
  • When using rubrics, discuss the rubric during class so students know how marks will be distributed. Do this prior to students starting the assignment
  • Ask students to post questions in discussion forums and review the review periodically
  • When using electronically delivered formative quizzes, set to: no time limit; unlimited attempts
  • Provide a practice final exam

Sometimes an overlooked way to prepare for the next assessment is to review the previous one to analyze what went well and what did not. Consider conducting an assessment debriefing session to review using aggregate data to inform all students of what happened. Consider how to adjust your teaching strategies to get to the most commonly least understood material when you next deliver the course.. In addition, Favero and Hendricks (2016) document an exam debrief process that appears to be successful and is practical to implement.