The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
45. Test Anxiety: Contemporary Theories and Implications for Learning
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Contemporary Theories and Implications for Learning
Jerrell C. Cassady
Few constructs in psychology and education have broader accessibility to students than test anxiety. We all encounter a measured response to evaluative situations that can be characterized as tense, uneasy, disquieted, nervous, fearful, and simply anxious. As a researcher with interest in this field, I frequently ask my undergraduate students if they experience test anxiety. In an average semester, I will receive a response somewhere in the range of 70% self-diagnosed test-anxious learners. Naturally, they are correct—they do have an anxious reaction to tests. These feelings of apprehension and concern over test anxiety are appropriate. Research on test anxiety has demonstrated negative correlations with IQ in math, statistics, reading, foreign language, science, and psychology courses; study skills and abilities; coping procedures in learning events; admittance into advanced programs; problem-solving skills; and basic memory processes (see Hembree, 1988, for meta-analysis).
However, most of these students do not have a conception of the pervasive and detrimental role test anxiety plays in the educational and academic experiences of a sizable portion of the population. More systematic examinations of the prevalence of test anxiety place estimates closer to the 25%–40% of the population, with higher rates of prevalence for racial minorities and females (Carter, Williams, & Silverman; 2008; Ergene, 2003; McDonald, 2001; Putwain, 2007). However, these estimations are difficult to validate given the absence...
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