My name is Abby Cunningham, I am a sophomore, and I am from Rochester, New York.
My favorite things to do on campus are hanging out and studying with friends in the library or Knowlton, and going to music performances.
I am interested in Educational Psychology because I haven’t taken a research-based Psychology course yet, and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about how different environments impact learning and development. I also have worked with kids a lot, including being an assistant dance teacher, so I thought it would be cool to learn more about the effects of different teaching styles on kids.
Article Critique Topic Ideas
- Does listening to background music improve or hinder a college student’s test taking? This would be tested on a group of high school students in a classroom listening to a lecture. They would then be asked to take a test on the material they learned while listening to either quiet music or loud music. This testing would be used to understand how the different types of music affect the student’s scores on a test. I am interested in looking at this because a lot of students listen to music while doing homework, but I want to see if that changes their test scores or makes them better or worse based on what that music can do for their memory. I am also interested on seeing how certain music affects a student’s performance. For example, I am interested in looking at how a student’s favorite music versus music that the student doesn’t listen to affects test performance, as well as loud music versus quiet music.
- How does anxiety affect test scores for college students? This would be for college students who are diagnosed with anxiety. This would be used to understand how different cases of anxiety can affect a student’s performance on a test. The data that would be collected would display if anxiety has a small or large affect on a student’s test scores. I would also want to look at college students who take medication for their anxiety versus students who don’t take medication for their anxiety and how that changes or affects their test scores. I am interested at looking at this because I find it interesting that students who might do very well in school have bad test scores because of anxiety.
Article for critique: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01902/full
For my research proposal, I will be investigating how test anxiety affects a student’s academic performance. I will be looking at how college students with diagnosed anxiety disorders show differences in their academic performances than students who aren’t diagnosed with anxiety and only experience generalized test anxiety. I will also be looking at how different factors that can’t be controlled affect test anxiety, such as race, nationality, and gender. I will also look at how student self-esteem and fear of examinations impact their test anxiety and academic performance.
Liebert, R. M., & Morris, L. W. (1967). Cognitive and Emotional Components of Test Anxiety: A Distinction and Some Initial Data. Psychological Reports, 20(3), 975–978. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.19126.96.36.1995
This article describes a test anxiety questionnaire that was used to test factors that tie into test anxiety. The first two factors are “worry” and “lack of confidence” which describe cognitive concern about the consequences of failing. This study also considers “emotionality,” which means someone’s autonomic reactions that occur when anxiety in testing situations is present. Students were divided into groups (High, Medium, and Low expectancy) about how they felt they would do on an exam. They then took the exam, and then filled out a questionnaire asking how they felt after the exam. The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between worry and how the students expected to do on the test. This study described that emotionality is higher when someone is least certain in their performance, meaning that worry and expectancy were negatively related. This study relates to my topic because it describes how lack of confidence plays into the anxiety of test taking, showing that emotions are a large part of why students might not do well on tests. My proposed study will build on these findings by explaining how students who have been diagnosed with anxiety may have a lower expectancy than students who don’t have diagnosed anxiety disorder.
Cassady, J. C., & Johnson, R. E. (2002). Cognitive Test Anxiety and Academic Performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 270-295. https://doi.org/10.1006/ceps.2001.1094
This article describes how cognitive test anxiety, emotionality, and test procrastination impacted test scores and academic performance. Students were prompted to complete two test anxiety measures, a Test Procrastination Questionnaire, and a self-report sheet two days before the second course exam. The students were then group based on their levels of test anxiety. The purpose of this study was to test the Cognitive Test Anxiety scale to assess test anxiety in students, as well as examine relationships between anxiety and gender, procrastination, emotionality, and student performance. The findings of this study showed that high levels of cognitive test anxiety caused lower test scores on three exams throughout the school year, and procrastination was only related to performances on the final exam. It also showed that students may experience problems with both preparing and taking the exams based on their anxiety. This study relates to my topic because it considers many factors that may have an impact on test scores and help to understand why students may not be doing well on tests. It takes into consideration how procrastination may have an effect on performance, which can be interesting to talk about because procrastination is something that students choose to do, while test anxiety is triggered by certain factors.
Hong, E. (1999). Test anxiety, perceived test difficulty, and test performance: temporal patterns of their effects. Learning and Individual Differences, 11(4), 431–447. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1041-6080(99)80012-0
This study considers how test difficulty can create test anxiety for students. Students in this study were enrolled in a course and were prompted to take a Test Anxiety Inventory which would measure their worry and emotionality immediately before and after their final examination. It asked questions about how important they thought the test was, how well they thought they would do on the test, and how difficult they thought the test would be. The purpose of this study was to see how test anxiety and test difficulty affected test performance. The results of this study showed that when a student perceived a test to be difficult, that increased both the student’s worry and emotionality. It also displayed that when students were completing easy items on a test, test anxiety decreased, and vice versa. Worry had an inverse relationship with performance, meaning that if students worried more, they would perform worse on the test. Overall, if a student thought a test would be difficult, their test anxiety increased. This study relates to my topic because it displays how test difficulty plays a role in causing anxiety for students. My proposed study can build on these topics because students with diagnosed anxiety disorder may have significantly higher levels of worry and emotionality than students with generalized test anxiety, so I think it would be interesting to see how those differ in my study.
Hembree, R. (n.d.). Correlates, Causes, Effects, and Treatment of Test Anxiety, 31.
This study discusses the importance of identifying the tests that give students high anxiety so they can omit them and use tests that will be beneficial for their learning. The C-test and Cloze-test were given to students. They were then asked to take an anxiety test which would prompt them to answer questions about which test gave them the most anxiety. The Cloze-test is a language test that measures reading comprehension, where certain words are deleted from a paragraph and students are asked to guess the words in the blanks. The C-test is similar, but instead the second half of every second word in a paragraph is deleted, and students are asked to understand the text and fill in the blanks. The purpose of this study is to understand which tests are the most anxiety-inducing. This study showed that students felt more anxiety while taking the C-test than taking the Cloze-test, and there was a negative relationship between test anxiety and academic performance. The article discusses that by knowing what tests cause students more anxiety, teachers should then help the students by omitting certain tests that cause more anxiety. This study relates to my topic because it shows how different types of tests cause more anxiety for students. I think it would be interesting to use different types of tests like this in my study to show the performance levels of the participants who are diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
Sarısu, B., & Büyükkarcı, K. (n.d.). A study on English preparatory class students’ assessment preferences and test anxieties, 21.
This study discusses how certain students prefer different types of assessments and how test anxieties affect them. It also takes into consideration how one’s nationality may affect their preferences in assessments. This study was done in Turkey, where students were learning how to speak and write in English. Students were prompted to complete the Assessment Preferences Inventory and the Test Anxiety Inventory. They also went through an interview process where they were asked questions in Turkish and English. The purpose of this study is to understand how the type of assessment relates to test anxiety, and how one’s nationality also plays a role in their anxiety. This study showed that students preferred a more holistic approach to assessments, such as using group presentations, presentations, and homework, rather than using multiple exams. Using classical exam styles with a time limit often caused more students to have increased levels of test anxiety. The researchers also discussed that it is important to consider student participation, attendance, and interest, because teachers can have a clearer sense about what types of assessments students prefer. The study also showed that foreign students in this study displayed more general test anxiety than the Turkish students did. This study relates to my topic because it shows how nationality can play a role in test anxiety, which is a factor that can’t be controlled in a study. I think it would be interesting in my study to maybe incorporate people of different nationalities, genders, and races to show how test anxiety levels are different between them.
Morse, D. T., & Vuk, J. (2013). Self-efficacy, Test Anxiety, and Self-reported Test-taking Ability: How do They Differ Between High- and Low-achieving Students? Mid-South Educational Research Association, 20(2), 28-34.
This study discussed how certain factors like test anxiety, self-efficacy, and self-reported test-taking ability differed between high and low achieving students. Students were asked to fill out a demographic questionnaire, and two questionnaires that asked about self-efficacy, test anxiety, and their test-taking ability. The purpose of this study was to see how students felt about certain aspects of themselves, and how their low or high achieving statuses would affect their performance on exams. The results showed that test anxiety levels did not differ between high and low achieving students. Self-reported abilities were different for high and low achieving students, but that didn’t change their test anxiety levels. Students who rated their self-efficacy lower didn’t have any more test anxiety, showing that ranking high and low achieving students didn’t have much of an affect. This study relates to my topic because it shows how no matter how students rank themselves (high or low achieving), there will be no difference in their test anxiety, and I think I could expand upon that to see if those results are similar with students who have diagnosed anxiety disorder versus students who don’t have diagnosed anxiety disorder.
Chamberlain, S., Daly, A. L., & Spalding, V. (2011). The fear factor: students’ experiences of test anxiety when taking A-level examinations. Pastoral Care in Education, 29(3), 193–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/02643944.2011.599856
This study examines the different types of test anxiety students deal with. “Pre-exam anxiety” was discussed, which could occur while studying or completing practice examinations. “Exam-day anxiety” was also discussed, which could occur the day of the test, relating to the arrival of students on time for the exam, and the time that is available to finish the exam. In this study, focus groups were led by the researchers which prompted participants to interact and share their opinions, experiences, beliefs, etc., about test anxiety. A second focus group was led by the participants, which encouraged them to identify their personal triggers of test anxiety. The purpose of this study was to identify some triggers of test anxiety to help to understand why students may feel anxiety before the exam and the day of the exam. 3 of the participants reported that their exam performance was significantly impaired by test anxiety, and displayed that pre-exam anxiety caused students to not be able to properly prepare for their examinations. Most of the participants found that the test anxiety that they experienced helped to keep them motivated and was useful in helping them to prepare for their tests. This study relates to my topic because it shows how different factors trigger anxiety in different people. I think that it would be interesting in my study to do a focus group, where I could talk to students in groups to see what triggers cause students with diagnosed anxiety disorder to have test anxiety.
Ergene, T. (2003). Effective Interventions on Test Anxiety Reduction: A Meta-Analysis. School Psychology International, 24(3), 313–328. https://doi.org/10.1177/01430343030243004
This study discussed how test anxiety reduction programs impacted individuals who were taking examinations. A meta-analysis was done to look at published and unpublished studies that discussed the effectiveness of using test anxiety reduction programs. 286 studies were found to meet the criteria in this meta-analysis. The purpose of this study was to look at other studies to understand how test anxiety reduction programs have had an effect on the participants. The treatments discussed in the meta-analysis were shown to be successful and showed the biggest changes in reducing test anxiety by using combined individual and group counseling. Programs that were brief also produced large changes in decreasing test anxiety in participants. This study relates to my topic because it displays that treatment is successful and can be done to help students with test anxiety.
Hembree, R. (n.d.). Correlates, Causes, Effects, and Treatment of Test Anxiety, 31.
This study discusses the effects of test anxiety on students. A meta-analysis of 562 studies was done that included studies with at least a treatment and a control group that contained at least 10 subjects. The purpose of this study was to use other research on test anxiety to understand its effects, as well as to understand treatments that can be used to help decrease test anxiety. This study showed that anxiety causes poor performance in students, and was also shown to have a lot of harmful effects on students, such as decreasing self-esteem and increasing fears of negative evaluation and defensiveness. Students with high levels of test anxiety may have lower self-esteem because they feel like they are being controlled by outside forces that they can’t change. Females were also shown to exhibit higher test anxiety than males. This study also gave information such as how black and Hispanic students tended to report more test anxiety than which students. This study relates to my topic because it takes into consideration factors that can’t be controlled, such as how gender and race may cause certain individuals to experience more test anxiety than others. It also explains how students feel about outside factors. It could be interesting in my study to interview participants and ask them what factors cause them to have a fear of exams or have low self-esteem.
Kazelskis, R., Reeves, C., Kersh, M. E., Bailey, G., Cole, K., Larmon, M., … Holliday, D. C. (2000). Mathematics Anxiety and Test Anxiety: Separate Constructs? The Journal of Experimental Education, 68(2), 137–146. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220970009598499
This study discusses how mathematics anxiety and test anxiety are related. Students were asked to complete a Revised Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale, the MAQ, and the MAS. The MAQ scale was used to assess a participant’s negative reactions to math, as well as taking into consideration worry about their performance. The MAS scale was used to measure attitudes that are important when learning mathematics. The Test Anxiety Inventory, Achievement Anxiety Test, and the Suinn Test Anxiety Behavior Scale were also used to test general test anxiety levels. The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between mathematics anxiety and general test anxiety. This study showed that mathematics anxiety and test anxiety may be separate phenomena, but there is no clear distinction between them, meaning that mathematics and test anxiety are generally the same. This study relates to my topic because it shows that math and test anxiety are similar, which could potentially expand to other topics such as science and reading.
Wachelka, D., & Katz, R. C. (1999). Reducing test anxiety and improving academic self-esteem in high school and college students with learning disabilities. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 30(3), 191–198. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7916(99)00024-5
This study discusses how test anxiety can cause high levels of distress and academic failure for students. The students in this study were high school and college students who had learning disabilities. Participants used the Test Anxiety Inventory to explain their levels of test anxiety, and then went through the treatment process. An 8 week long treatment was used which included muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and training in test-taking approaches and skills. The purpose of this study was to understand how this treatment can impact students who display test anxiety. This study showed that students in the treated group displayed more improvement than the control group, meaning that the treated students had levels of test anxiety that were significantly decreased. This study relates to my topic because it allows for a possibility of a successful and efficient treatment program that can significantly decrease test anxiety in students. My proposed study could build on this by using this treatment to distinguish how students with diagnosed anxiety disorder react to the treatment between how students without diagnosed anxiety disorder react to the treatment.
Bruch, M. A. (1981). Relationship of test-taking strategies to test anxiety and performance: Toward a task analysis of examination behavior. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 5(1), 41–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01172325
This study describes test strategies and how they can affect test anxiety and student performance. A questionnaire was used in this study that asked for descriptions of how participants take their tests. Students took the How You Take Tests questionnaire which prompted them to list the tactics that they used when answering multiple-choice, true-false, matching, essay, and reading questions. The purpose of this study was to test the reliability of the How You Take Tests questionnaire, as well as understanding which test-taking strategies are more helpful in increasing performances on examinations and tasks and decreasing test anxiety. This study showed that participants with higher levels of test anxiety displayed less effective problem-solving strategies for taking tests, and participants with lower levels of test anxiety displayed more effective problem-solving strategies for taking tests. This study relates to my topic because it displays how test-taking strategies are helpful and important for students who have test anxiety. I could build on this in my study by having a control group that doesn’t use test-taking strategies, and treatment groups that use different test-taking strategies to see how their performance and test anxiety levels change.
Swanson, S., & Howell, C. (1996). Test Anxiety in Adolescents with Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders. Exceptional Children, 62(5), 389–397. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440299606200501
This study discusses students who are enrolled in special education, and have learning disabilities and behavior disorders. 82 participants in this study completed measures of anxiety and academic performance. The Test Anxiety Inventory and the Cognitive Interference Questionnaire were used in this study. The CIQ is used to ask participants what they rate themselves in how likely they are to experience irrelevant thoughts during a testing situation. The purpose of this study was to understand how test anxiety affects students with learning disabilities and behavior disorders. This study showed that cognitive interference is important in predicting test anxiety, and can also significantly increase a student’s test anxiety. Overall, this means that a student’s internal dialogue hindered their performance on an examination, as well as also increased test anxiety. This study relates to my topic because it shows how students are affected by their internal dialogue and are distracted while taking tests. It could be interesting in my study to have students record how many times during a test they get off track or think irrelevant thoughts, and ask if that causes them more test anxiety or not.
Kleijn, W. C., van der Ploeg, H. M., & Topman, R. M. (1994). Cognition, Study Habits, Test Anxiety, and Academic Performance. Psychological Reports, 75(3), 1219–1226. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.19188.8.131.529
This study used the Study Management and Academic Results Test to measure study strategies and time management for students who are taking an examination. Three studies were done where students were asked to talk about their study strategies and time management in these topics, and were then asked to complete an exam. The purpose of this study was to show how study and time management affected test scores and anxiety levels in students. This study showed that there were correlations between academic competence, test competence, optimism, and test anxiety. This overall means that students who were more academically and test competent had decreased levels of test anxiety. This study relates to my topic because it shows how students are affected by study and time management strategies. I think it would be interesting to build on this by including the students with diagnosed anxiety disorders to see what kind of test strategies they use.
Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Daley, C. E. (1996). The relative contributions of examination-taking coping strategies and study coping strategies to test anxiety: A concurrent analysis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 20(3), 287–303. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02229239
This study discusses how examination-taking coping strategies and study copies strategies determine test anxiety in students. In this study, 26 graduate students completed either a timed or an untimed examination. The purpose of this study was to see how different strategies affect test anxiety in students, as well as to determine how the conditions of an examination setting may cause differences in academic performance. This study showed how students who had good coping strategies performed better in timed testing conditions than students who didn’t have developed coping and study strategies. It also showed that students who displayed more test anxiety didn’t perform as well as students who displayed less test anxiety. This study relates to my topic because it shows how study strategies are an important factor in decreasing test anxiety for students. In my study I think I could ask students with diagnosed anxiety disorders how they generally study for tests, and that could help me to understand why certain students perform certain ways on examinations.
Literature Review Outline
- This study will be examining how test anxiety affects a student’s academic performance, specifically with how diagnosed anxiety shows different outcomes than generalized test anxiety. This study will also look at how gender and race play a role in causing both diagnosed anxiety and generalized test anxiety.
- Discussing how well a student performs on a test or exam based on test anxiety levels.
- “Grades” subheading discussing the scores students get on their tests and exams.
- “Self-efficacy/self-reported test-taking ability” subheading discussing how students have a certain level of how well they think they are going to do on a test, and how that can affect test anxiety (Morse & Vuk, 2013).
- “Test anxiety” subheading discussing pre-exam anxiety and exam-day anxiety, and how those can work together to hinder a student’s performance on an exam. (Chamberlain, Daly, & Spalding)
- Discussing how certain emotions can affect test performance, as well how aspects of the test itself can affect a student’s performance.
- “Worry” subheading discussing concern about the consequences of failing an exam (Liebert & Morris, 1967).
- “Lack of confidence” subheading which also discusses concern about the consequences of failing exam as well as feelings of low self-efficacy which can cause students to do worse on exams (Liebert & Morris, 1967).
- “Emotionality” subheading discussing the autonomic reactions that occur when anxiety in test situations is present (Liebert & Morris, 1967).
- “Test difficulty” subheading discussing how the level of difficulty of the exam can affect performance (Hong, 1999).
- “Assessment preferences” subheading discussing how certain forms of exams can change how students perform (Sarisu, & Büyükkarci).
- Discussing how study habits may cause students to have more or less test anxiety based on how much or how well they studied for the exam.
- “Procrastination” subheading discussing how much a student waits until the last minute to prepare and study for an exam, and how that can affect performance (Cassady & Johnson, 2002).
- “Test-taking strategies” subheading discussing how students may have different ways of taking tests, and how those can affect test performance for the better or worse (Bruch, 1981).
Gender and Race
- Discussing how gender and race have an affect on test anxiety.
- “Gender” subheading discussing how gender has been shown to cause differences in reported test anxiety levels. For example, in one study females had higher levels of test anxiety than males (Hembree).
- “Race” subheading discussing how race has been shown to cause differences in reported test anxiety levels. For example, in one study, Black and Hispanic students reported more test anxiety than white students (Hembree).
- Most studies that I have looked at have only discussed people who have test anxiety, meaning that they get nervous before exams, which potentially affects their performance. I want to look at students who have been diagnosed with anxiety, and how that might impact their performance on exams.
- I also want to go into more detail about what diagnosed anxiety looks like, and what symptoms cause students to need to get professional help.
- My hypothesis is that students who have been diagnosed with anxiety are more likely to perform worse on exams than students with generalized test anxiety. I also hypothesize that students of color who exhibit anxiety will be more likely to do worse on tests than white students, as well as females will perform worse than males.
IS Symposium Reflection
One of the presentations I went to during IS Symposium was entitled “Implicit and Explicit Attitudes Regarding Tattoos in Relation to Social Dominance Orientation and Perceived Entitativity.” I thought that this presentation was very interesting because she discussed how certain people have certain views towards people having tattoos, whether they are unconscious thoughts because of society’s standards or external factors that affect beliefs about tattoos. I liked that she included a lot of factors such as Social Dominance Orientation and implicit and explicit attitudes in order to explain how people feel about tattoos. She did a really good job of explaining her results in a way that everyone would be able to understand her data. Overall I really enjoyed this presentation because I personally have a tattoo and I enjoy learning about people’s tattoos, so it was interesting to hear about how her population perceived tattoos. It was especially interesting because I assumed that since her population was from the College of Wooster, I assumed that people would have more positive attitudes towards tattoos since we go to a liberal arts college, but instead most of the participants had negative attitudes towards tattoos, even if they had tattoos themselves. That surprised me a lot, and it was interesting to hear about. One thing that I think she could’ve improved on was to maybe explain more about the research she did on tattoos specifically, and maybe explain some of the significance of tattoos. She briefly stated that people get tattoos for a variety of different reasons, and it would’ve been cool to hear about those reasons. I’m not sure if she did research like that but it could’ve been interesting to hear about, especially to expose information about the significance of tattoos to people in the audience who might not have positive opinions about them.