Test Anxiety: : The State of the Art (Perspectives on Individual Differences)

Test Anxiety
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What does this all mean? Well often times our yin and yang …. Scientific Research An Academic Publisher. Affiliation s. In the last several decades, hundreds of published studies examined test anxiety TA , as researchers and practitioners sought to better understand TA and related constructs and simultaneously develop and test interventions to limit the debilitating effects of anxiety on test performance e.

Despite the abundance of work that has been conducted, research continues to produce new insights e. Test anxiety is generally conceptualized as a multidimensional construct that can be debilitating for students. Also, test-anxious students are found to receive lower standardized achievement test scores, GPA, and class exam scores Chapell et al.

Interestingly, however, limited research hints that small quantities of test anxiety, similar to other forms of performance anxiety, might also serve to facilitate performance, consistent with the Yerkes-Dodson curve e. Therefore, the current conceptualization and definition of TA may need to be reexamined to include additional constructs.

The purpose of this paper is to extend current views of TA through application of a self-regulated learning theoretical framework and to document the development of a new measure. The measure is presented with accompanying foundational psychometric information in our studies. Our intent is to provide a new tool that is brief, easily administered, and provides direction for subsequent targeted self-regulated learning strategies.

Various definitions of test anxiety exist. A long held and widely accepted definition, proposed by Spielberger and colleagues , conceptualizes test anxiety as a situation-specific form of trait anxiety. Trait anxiety refers to stable individual differences in propensity for anxiety proneness whereas state anxiety is a transitory emotional reaction that is characterized by subjective feelings of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry; and is associated with physiological arousal.

Test-anxious students are generally higher in trait anxiety and tend to experience more excessive state anxiety under evaluative situations. Test anxiety is also often defined as a multidimensional construct. This component involves the negative self-talk and negative cognition of performance outcomes in relation to examinations. The emotionality component refers to physiological and affective reactions including physiological arousal, physical symptoms, and unpleasant feelings such as tension and nervousness.

There are numerous TA scales and inventories that are administered for varied purposes. Examples include those used as screening instruments in practice with clients and students such as the ten item Westside Test Anxiety Scale e. Recently, Brooks and colleagues developed a measure, the Test and Examination Anxiety Measure TEAM , a 26 item measure that moves beyond worry and emotionality to target trait and state anxiety as well as distractibility, worry, and rumination scales. These represent but a few of the dozens of available measures. The item TAI has been translated into several languages and used internationally e.

The TAI addresses emotionality and worry components of test anxiety. Most existing test anxiety scales are conceptually related to the TAI in that they contain the identified worry and emotionality components of test anxiety e. Evidence supports importance of both worry and emotionality components of test anxiety and both are often considered critical elements of the construct. The prevalence of these components of the TA construct within current measures reinforces this perception of TA. However, in the current work, we consider additional, broader, aspects of test anxiety.

Another existing measure prominently used to examine test anxiety is the TAS and versions of the TAS as it evolved over time e. Some items of the often used TAS were derived from items originally administered to children e. The evolution of the TAS was different from many other commonly developed measures as much of the work Sarason and colleagues conducted targeted experimental manipulations of test anxiety.

These studies often examined test anxiety as an independent rather than a dependent variable. In contrast, other measures were developed initially to serve as a descriptive tool or dependent measure. Subsequently, TAS measures are somewhat broader than other measures and incorporate more than worry and emotionality components. The TAS measures, however, differ in the theoretical view employed when compared with the current studies. Recently, Pekrun and colleagues developed the Test Emotions Questionnaire. The TEQ addresses state and trait elements of the emotions of worry, pride, enjoyment, and boredom, as well as anxiety.

The MSLQ, often used as a general measure of self-regulated learning, contains a 5 item test anxiety scale. These items are considered independently of other scales and subscales of the MSLQ e. The intent of such use is often to correlate TA with other motivation and self-regulated learning variables e. Previous measures of test anxiety inform our understanding of the worry and emotionality components of TA, but generally, items on previous measures do not directly map to a self-regulated learning framework e.

This is in contrast to other measures of test anxiety that often approach the construct from a clinical e. Self-regulated learners monitor and control their learning and motivation and employ effective strategies. As such, one goal is to assist students as they develop effective metacognition to recognize their learning progress and to provide effective strategies students can employ to support their learning.

Self-regulated learners also monitor and control their motivation and affect. Effective self-regulated learners can monitor and control their anxiety and implement strategies to combat the situations which illicit negative affective responses e. There are several models of self-regulated learning e. One often referenced model relies on a cyclic view of the self-regulatory processes as proposed by Zimmerman This cyclic phase model, situated within a social learning theory framework, recognizes the roles of metacognition, motivational elements, and strategies with a self-regulatory framework.

Test anxiety is both anticipatory and situational. Further, strategies to combat test anxiety may benefit from a better understanding of test anxiety during phases of a self- regulated learning cycle. Within a self-regulated learning framework, students may approach different types of tests with different strategies.

7 editions of this work

Test Anxiety: The State of the Art (Perspectives on Individual Differences) [Moshe Zeidner] on munetupecavy.ga *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Examination. Examination stress and test anxiety are pervasive problems in modern society. As the information Perspectives on Individual Differences The State of the Art .

Further, interventions may target both preparatory and in situ to the test strategies that differ based upon test format. In development of the SRTLAS consideration was given to work by Cassady and Johnson , which focused on the cognitive components of test anxiety and expanded the traditional worry component of TA. In their work they included one cause of anxiety is in causing sorrow for parents.

In recognition of the social context of learning, and consistent with Cassady and Johnson and other recent research that focuses on the roles of the perceptions of teachers, parents, and peers on the motivational processes e. In summary the SRLTAS addresses several aspects of test anxiety not targeted in previous research and incorporates a much broader view of the nature of test anxiety within a self-regulatory framework.

Specifically, the items on the measure situate test anxiety within a social context and also examine the temporal relations among testing and anxiety. In Study 1 we describe the measure. In Study 2, we test the stability of the measure. Data from studies 3 and 4 explore the construct validity of the SRLTAS though both convergent and discriminant strategies. Given our evolving understanding of the TA construct from current theoretical views of learning, the primary focus of the four studies presented here is the measurement of under-considered elements of test anxiety.

Although numerous measures of text anxiety currently exist; the nature of these instruments varies considerably and none specifically address the aspects of test anxiety targeted in SRLTAS. The purpose of Study 1 was to describe the development of the SRLTAS, share item-level descriptive information, and explore the factor structure of the measure. Several descriptive research questions guided this study. Previous research has indicated that females report more test anxiety than males Everson et al.

Some level of anxiety is known to result in optimum performance in a variety of settings e. Limited research suggests that test anxiety might also serve to facilitate examination performance e. How does this factor structure relate to the theoretically grounded structure from which items were designed? The intent of the development of the SRLTAS was to create a descriptive tool that adequately measures elements of TA from a SRL perspective for research purposes and that also informs learners of aspects of anxiety that could be targeted for subsequent strategy intervention.

Although designed as an overall comprehensive measure, the SRLTAS scale was written to address five potential factors related to TA from previously under-represented recent empirical and theoretical components of effective learning situated in an established SRL theoretical framework. To that end, three factors included items designed to measure temporal aspects of anxiety which occur before, during, and after the test.

Additionally, items were written to address anxiety related to the social consequences of test performance including the perceptions of consequences from parents, teachers, classmates, and friends. The final factor addressed anxiety related to test type. Items were developed to address the three primary types of tests students may experience: Multiple choice, essay, and short answer. Items on the scale were couched within perceptions of stress. Our emphasis was not on the debilitating effects of anxiety, but the broader perspective that some level of test anxiety manifests itself within students as stress.

This conception is consistent with current views of academic achievement motivation that recognize everyday setbacks and challenges as part of the learning process e. Further, this perspective of test anxiety, as not debilitating but rather a challenge is consistent with a self-regulated learning framework that would suggest awareness and monitoring of affect is relevant for strategy intervention and academic performance e. Zimmerman, Participants were provided informed consent documents and the SRLTAS was administered at the end of class by a researcher.

The mean self- reported GPA for the sample in Study 1 was 3. Participants were students in two sections of an introductory course in Educational Psychology that enrolls students from a cross section of students from dozens of majors. For the remaining students, other ethnicity or no ethnicity was reported. To increase variance and external validity, participants answered the SRLTAS questions as they pertained to taking their next scheduled test in any particular class and did not answer in relation to the course from which they were recruited.

Demographic data collected included academic major, self-reported SAT scores, academic class standing, and an item that asked participants to state the nature of the assessment for which they were answering the SRLTAS questions e. These items included additional elements within these time categories, such as the effects of studying a lot, how the test would affect their grade, about challenges related to time limits, and how stress was experienced when people talked about the test.

Finally, two items were included that asked perceptions regarding whether TA helps performance or hinders performance. Item-level statistics suggest variance on the items given the Study 1 sample and evidence suggested the viability of the items as part of the overall scale. Students reported the greatest anxiety for multiple-choice exams with the least reported anxiety for essay exams. Further, although the class standing data were not. Table 1. An unrestricted Maximum likelihood factor analysis with Varimax rotation was conducted with the 26 items included we omitted the benefit and hinder items.

Cases were deleted using a listwise deletion and an eigenvalue of 1 was used to interpret the factor structure. This analysis yielded a six factor solution that accounted for When comparing the unrestricted 6 factor solution the vast majority of items affiliated with factors as expected. Only the last two items demonstrated loadings on the sixth factor.

One item, multiple choice test, did not load as expected. Table 2 provides the item factor loadings. Given support for the underlying factor structure through the completely unrestricted analysis, we tested a second EFA but constrained the number of factors to 5. Again, we used an orthogonal, Varimax rotation with a. Restricting the analysis to five factors generally supported the proposed factor structure, but yet demonstrated some items did not load as expected.

For example, When taking multiple choice exams, loaded with items that represented the factor during the test, rather than the planned factor type of item. In conclusion, Exploratory Factor Analyses from data in Study 1 indicated support for five factors: social consequences; to include concerns regarding how parents, friends, classmates and teachers may view test performance; item types; to include items related to anxiety across item formats; and temporal aspects of anxiety; that is how stress is felt before, during, and after an exam.

Two individual items concerned whether test anxiety helps or hinders performance.

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In Study 1, these two items we inversely correlated, as expected, but yet not strongly inversely related to indicate that students did not simply endorse one or the other beliefs about the effects of test anxiety, but instead that participants held the belief that anxiety both helps and hinders potential performance. Further, an unrestricted Exploratory Factor Analysis, indicated items generally loaded as was expected and was indicative that items were measuring a broader TA construct as well as the potential for independent factor level. Table 2. After determining participant demographic characteristics in relation to the SRLTAS in Study 1, student characteristics were not the focus of Studies 2 and 3.

Study 2 data also served as a pilot study for a larger convergent validity examination in Study 3. Cassady for example, reported strong stability estimates for both cognitive anxiety and bodily symptoms. Pintrich and Garcia also reported stability of test anxiety and of cluster affiliations of college students who had been administered the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire.

The SRLTAS was developed to measure unique elements of test anxiety not well addressed with previous existing measures. However, scores on the SRLTAS were expected to be positively correlated with scores from the administration of other established test anxiety scales. The course in which students were enrolled fulfills a general education requirement at the institution and enrolls students from a variety of majors. The measures in the study were administered via Qualtrics.

All participants completed three randomized test anxiety scales once during the sixth week of the semester and then again during the ninth week of the semester. Spring break occurred between administrations so 4 weeks separated the two administrations. Students were instructed to reference their next scheduled test in any class when answering the scales. This administration strategy ensured representative variance in regard to academic subjects as well as the types of assessments typically administered in University courses. Factor analyses from Study 1 supported the multidimensional nature of the instrument.

Exploratory Factor Analyses from Study 1 indicated support for five factors: social consequences; to include concerns regarding how parents, friends, classmates and teachers may view test performance; item types; to include items related to anxiety across item formats; temporal aspects of anxiety; that is how stress is felt before, during, and after an exam. Two individual items also target the debilitating and beneficial effects of anxiety. Items and descriptive statistics appear in Table 1. TAS properties are well established through hundreds of studies and reliability estimates are known to be strong Sarason, Previous research reported test-retest reliabilities for variations of the TAS as ranging from 0.

The five items on the scale have consistently demonstrated sound internal consistency reliability and strong item to factor correlations e. The scale has demonstrated expected negative correlations with course performance Pintrich et al. An example item includes: When I take tests I think of the consequences of failing. Table 3 presents the scale descriptive statistics of the three test anxiety scales at each administration. Reliability coefficients indicate that all measures demonstrated adequate internal consistency reliability.

Table 4 presents correlations among scales across administrations. Table 3. Scale level Descriptive Statistics for Study 2. Table 4. Correlations among measures and stability estimates in bold for Study 2.

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Despite the low power from the limited sample, all inter-scale correlations demonstrated positive statistical significance indicating correspondence among these measures of test anxiety. Study 3 addressed two primary research questions. Given findings from the relatively small sample examined in the stability analysis, we expected moderate to strong significant positive correlations among the three test anxiety scales in Study 3, which would provide initial construct support for the measure.

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Studies in Education, 42, in Hebrew. Our emphasis was not on the debilitating effects of anxiety, but the broader perspective that some level of test anxiety manifests itself within students as stress. Ruiz, M. The evolution of the TAS was different from many other commonly developed measures as much of the work Sarason and colleagues conducted targeted experimental manipulations of test anxiety. Methods Instrum.

While the scales administered target varied aspects of TA, overall TA should be correlated across measures. As with Study 2, the focus of the study was the items and scales. All scales administered in Study 2 were administered again in Study 3. Once again, the order of the scales was randomized during the administration through Qualtrics. Internal consistency reliability analysis for all items in the current sample was 0. Sarason noted the multidimensional nature of the instrument. In the current administration, the internal consistency of the scale was 0. In Study 3 the reliability estimate for the scale was 0.

Additional research supports the consistency of these items through model fit analyses Hilpert et al. Table 5. Scale Level Descriptive Statistics for Study 3. Table 6. Correlations among Scales in Study 3. Table 5 presents the scale level means and standard deviations and Table 6 presents the correlations among the scales administered in Study 3. To address the first research question in Study 3, as also indicated in Study 2, there were significant correlations among the test anxiety scales.

With few exceptions the factor structure in Study 3 replicated Study 1 findings. This item had not loaded in Study 1. All other items loaded as expected, however, lending support for the intended underlying five factor structure of the scale. Consistent with expectations, relations between the SRLTAS and other known measures of test anxiety were generally moderate to strong.

Although the SRLTAS focuses on elements of test anxiety not tackled in other instruments, the underlying experience of test anxiety would likely be experienced and reported across inventories. Therefore, significant moderate correlations were expected among the TA measures. With few exceptions, the factor structure as indicated with a new sample in Study 3 largely replicated that found in Study 1. Findings also supported stability of TA as measured across inventories and time. Such stability can inform interventions to target strategies for students to combat the ill effects of TA.

One descriptive and one correlational question were addressed in Study 4. In Study 1, analyses indicated higher test anxiety for females than for males. We expected replication of this finding in Study 4. Further, test anxiety would be expected to decrease over the collegiate academic experience as learners become more familiar with collegiate expectations. One of the motivational constructs that is commonly suggested to have an important impact on test anxiety is self-efficacy. That is, people with high efficacy for a task believe that they are capable of completing the given task successfully.

Bandura has argued that self-efficacy is a critical determinant of human cognition, motivation, affect, and action. For example, Torres and Solberg reported a positive relationship between academic self-efficacy and the number of hours students spent studying. For instance, Walker, Greene, and Mansell found that self-efficacy was predictive of deep cognitive processing among college students and Zajacova, Lynch, and Espenshade reported that self-efficacy was predictive of college GPA.

In addition to its influence on motivation and achievement, social cognitive theory posits that self-efficacy affects the level of stress and anxiety that people experience when confronted with a challenging task or situation. According to Bandura , people who believe they can control potential difficulties do not construct apprehensive cognitions and, thus, are not intimidated by them.

However, those who do not believe they can cope with expected obstacles experience high levels of distress and anxiety arousal. A number of empirical findings have offered support for a negative association between self-efficacy and stress or test anxiety among college students e. For example, Kitsantas, Winsler and Huie reported a slight negative correlation between test anxiety and self-efficacy. In a study testing a model of achievement in statistics, Bandalos, Finney, and Geske found that test anxiety had a meditational role in the relationship between self-efficacy and achievement.

Self-handicapping is one form of avoidant behavior. These individuals tend to avoid risk-taking, resist seeking help, and give up when faced with challenge. That is, self-handicappers make an excuse to which future failure could be attributed. Examples of self-handicapping behavior include deliberately reducing effort, fooling around the night before a test, overcommitting on nonacademic tasks, such as too much employed work or extracurricular activities, or consuming alcohol prior to performance.

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Numerous studies have reported correlations between self-handicapping and test anxiety. For example, in a sample of college undergraduate students, Gadbois and Sturgeon administered the MSLQ and reported a significant positive correlation between self-handicapping and test anxiety. A new sample of participants from the same institution as those from Studies 1 - 3 volunteered to participate in the study. In this sample students participated 51 men; women. Students in Study 4 represented 38 different majors. The mean GPA reported for the sample was 3. Self-efficacy is often regarded as domain-specific Bandura, ; Pajares, As such, the purpose of the instrument is not to measure self-efficacy for an individual task.

For administration in the current study, the scale was modified slightly in two ways. This revision was made so items across instruments used similar scales. Second, the measure was also specifically altered to assess self-efficacy beliefs in relation to taking an exam. Study 4 also provided opportunity to re-examine and compare findings related to demographic characteristics and scores on the SRLTAS and to further examine the factor structure of the measure.

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All measures illustrated sound internal consistency in this study. Table 7. Scale Descriptive Statistics for Study 4. Table 8. Correlations among Scales in Study 4. These findings are consistent with expectations and previous research but should be considered with caution given the disproportionate representation of women in the current sample. This trend was not statistically significant. Students reported their anxiety on the class immediately following the course in which they were enrolled. Exploratory factor analyses conducted with Study 1 and Study 3 data demonstrated general consistency in the underlying factor structure of the SRLTAS and generally supported a five factor solution.

Examination of the rotated factor matrix from the EFA and examination of fit indices, for example, indicated that as with Study 1 and Study 3, Item 11, the multiple choice item, intended to load with item type, displayed poor fit. Findings from Study 4, were consistent with the three previous studies, reported in the current research, and indicated adequate item level variance and strong internal consistency reliability for the SRLTAS.

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Females reported more TA; TA decreased as academic standing increased; and there was no difference in the amount of TA reported between required and non-required coursework. This study, intended to provide additional construct validity evidence through discrimination among other self-regulatory constructs, indicated that, as expected, scores from the SRLTAS were positively correlated with reports of higher self- handicapping and negatively correlated with endorsed generalized self-efficacy.

Descriptively five factors appear to support the measure. Confirmatory factor analysis of the five factors, however, indicated limited support for the independence of the proposed five factors of the scale. Across four studies the 28 item SRLTAS Items are found in Table 1 was developed through creation of new items that were inspired by social learning theory and self-regulated learning theories.

Through these lenses, TA was conceptualized as representative stress influenced by contextual and environmental variables. Unlike previous measures that targeted the emotionality and worry elements of TA, or TA generally; the intent of SRLTAS scale development was to examine dimensions of test anxiety not previously addressed. The SRLTAS was developed not only as a theoretically and empirically grounded tool for research but as an instrument with intent to guide practitioners with potential identification of contexts that result in increased anxiety for students that can be targeted with strategy interventions to decrease the negative results of such stress.

Across the studies, item and scale level descriptive statistics indicated adequate variance and reliability analysis indicated strong consistency. As with findings from previous TA research e. Study 2 provided strong stability evidence and initial construct support.