Test Anxiety and Learning Potential in College Students

Nicholas Cale, Christopher Fowler*, Melisa Rempfer*, University of Missouri – Kansas City

Full manuscript: www.kon.org/urc/v11/cale.html

Abstract: This study examined the impact of Test Anxiety (TA) on undergraduate college students’ Learning Potential (LP). It was predicted that those students high in TA would perform poorly in comparison to students low in TA on initial testing of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), but the students would show equal testing abilities on the WCST when presented with dynamic testing. Sixty-one students completed the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI), and were then randomized into high- or low-threat conditions. Twenty-two students completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Letter-Number Sequencing task (LNS), and the dynamic WCST. Multiple analyses of variance (ANOVA) revealed that TA did not significantly impact learning on the WCST.

Test Anxiety
Anxiety is common among students at all levels of education. A specific type of anxiety experienced during testing situations, test anxiety (TA), has been shown to elicit emotional responses that contribute to task interference and lower intellectual testing performance (Sarason, 1961). Test anxiety is also related to fears of negative evaluation, the disliking of tests, and poor study habits (Hembree, 1988). Furthermore, high levels of test anxiety have been shown to be negatively correlated to many factors, such as IQ, academic achievement, memory, and cumulative grade point average (Cassady & Johnson, 2002; Hembree, 1988). In a meta-analysis of 562 studies on test anxiety in academic settings conducted by Hembree, results found that test anxiety is consistent in reducing performance.

Read the full manuscript: www.kon.org/urc/v11/cale.html