Stress Begins in Kindergarten: A Look at Behavior During Standardized Testing.


kindergarten, stress, stress in children, standardized texting


C h i l d r e n ’s b e h a v i o r d u r i n g s t a n d a r d i z e d a c h i e v e m e n t testing was explored through a qualitative study of two kindergarten classrooms. The subjects were 36 kindergarten children (10 Black, 26 White; 17 males, 19 females). Data were collected through observations in the classrooms; interviews with children, teachers, and principals; and video taping of the children before, during, and after standardized achievement testing. Findings indicated an increase in behaviors reported to be stress related during the te sting s i t u a t i o n and a d e c r e as e in those be ha vi or s following the testing period. Other frequently observed behaviors included copying and calling out answers during the administration of the test. In addition, the children frequently marked incorrect answers, although they could provide the correct answers orally. The attitude of the principals toward testing seemed to affect the testing situation. The principal who felt test scores were extremely important placed more emphasis on test performance. Children at this school engaged in more stress related behaviors than children in the school where the principal placed less emphasis on the importance of test scores.

Original Publication Citation

Fleege, P.O., Charlesworth, R., Burts, D.C., & Hart, C.H. (1992). Stress begins in kindergarten: A look at behavior during standardized testing. Early Education and Development, 7, 20-26.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date





Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor