A week or two before we start testing, I ask parents to send a note school, encouraging their child. I send home fancy paper, envelopes, and some suggestions of things to say. They give the paper to family members, who write letters to their little test taker. When the student goes to start their test I give them their letters, to read before they begin.
I send a lengthy letter. The first side is all about the test and other things they might want to know about how state testing works.
The second page is a list of suggestions for creating the best supportive environment for students.
The day of the test, I give students this positive paper. We read it together, and then I tell them to keep it next to their space and refer to it, when something seems tricky.