Printer Friendly

TEST ANXIETY: GENDER AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS.

Byline: Nasir Ahmad, Sajjad Hussain and Farooq Nawaz Khan

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To investigate undergraduate students' test anxiety level; to measure the correlation between undergraduate students test anxiety with their academic achievement; and to measure the correlation of undergraduate students' test anxiety from the perspective of their gender.

Methodology: Students of eight departments at University of Swat constituted the study sample. Among these, 126 undergraduate level students were selected through simple random sampling technique. The tool used for the study was Westwide Test Anxiety Scale. Analysis of data was done using SPSS version 21.

Results: Among the selected respondents, there were 89 (70.63%) male and 37 (29.37%) female students. Our results revealed that 39.7% of undergraduate university students were suffering from moderately high test anxiety. Male students had 44.9% while female students had 27% moderately high test anxiety. The correlation coefficient between CGPA and test anxiety of students was -.317 which shows inverse relationship. The average CGPA of male students was 2.8 while female students had a CGPA of 3.19. The mean test score of male undergraduate students was 3.25 +-0.60 and female under graduate students was 3.13 +-0.77, p value .366.

Conclusion: Moderately high test anxiety was found in undergraduate university students which was similar in both male and female students. Female students showed better performance as compared to male students.

KeyWords: Test anxiety, Academic achievement, Undergraduate students.

INTRODUCTION

A physical, emotional and mental reaction to threat of failure on test or evaluation is known as test anxiety. It is an unpleasant emotional response to judge a situation with a sense of worry and fear1. Test anxiety results in reduced concentration among students on their studies2. Stober3 noted the two elements of test anxiety; firstly 'worry' which is the feelings in reaction to evaluation and the consequences of failing the examination or test and secondly the perception of reactions produced by test situation. These components of test anxiety affect different aspects of students' life such as educational activities, inter and intrapersonal communication, confidence, trust in self and above all mental health4. Test anxiety results into high level of worry, fear and academic failure in competent as well as low performing students5.

Research studies6-8 confirm the prevalence of anxiety among students who encounter examination and reveal its effects on students' performance. Academic achievements of students having high anxiety of tests are relatively less as compared to students who have low test anxiety, but it is not clear whether there is any role of test anxiety in lowering the performance of students9,10. Lufi et al11 described that students evaluation may adversely affect their performance irrespective of their gender and age. Test environment, nature and difficulty of the evaluative task, atmosphere of examination hall, time constraints for solving test tasks, mode of administration of test and physical settings are also contributory factors that cause anxiety among students. It has been reported that test anxiety negatively affect the performance of deprived students (i.e. students with lower socioeconomic status, students from minorities and special education students12-14.

Knox et al15 described that students who are unable to cope with test anxiety, fail courses and drop out of school. Furthermore, the state of anxiousness is evoked when a person under evaluation think that the evaluative situation does not suit his/her potentials and is beyond one's intellectual and social capabilities16. Some researchers also found gender differences in test anxiety9,17-18. Mcdonald8 observed that anxiety was found to be higher in female students as compared to male students. Colom et al19 reported high IQ level of male students as the brain size of males is larger than female students. However, Lao20 concluded that female students accomplished better; and got better results in terms of CGPA than male students in pre-collegiate level. Reporting test anxiety in most cases is not taken seriously thus resulting into increased difficulties for students, teachers and parents.

Mulvenonet al21 found in his research that in most cases students themselves, their parents, teachers and educational counselors do not report high level of stress and anxiety in students. Test and examinations at all stages of educational career are of high significance for an individual, especially at tertiary level of education it has been considered very important and powerful device for decisions. In higher education in Pakistan and elsewhere students with variety of age range are being assessed with respect to their academic abilities22. The completion of higher education leads to practical life and the success or failure at this stage may affect the whole life of the person tending to result in probable anxiety in them23. It is of concern that increase in high-stake testing will result in greater test anxiety which can damage the students' well-being in diverse ways. Therefore it is of high significance to investigate the academic successes of university students in relation to test anxiety.

The purpose of the study included finding out test anxiety level of undergraduate university students, their gender-wise differences and its relationship with their academic achievement.

METHODOLOGY

This was a descriptive study. There were 625 students in 08 selected departments, out of these a sample of 126 (20%) students were selected for our research. The study was sampled in light of directives of Gay et al24, where they recommended that when the population comprised of 100 so all must be included in sample group; when it is between 101 to 500 individuals so 50% may be included; when it is between 501 to 1500 the sample may include 20%; and for above 1500 a sample of 5% is enough for the sample group. Simple random sampling technique was used. Table 1 shows details of study sample. The tool used for the study was Westwide Test Anxiety Scale. It is a ten item self-explanatory scale constructed by Driscoll25. The scale was initially developed to measure subject's anxiety related problems. Most of the items in scale straight away ask about performance impairment, fear or stress, which is mostly concerned with concentration. The scale was pilot tested for local validation.

Some changes were made as per requirements of the local context. While gathering data from the respondents, the scale was used in March 2017 (two weeks before the start of final term examination). The selected students for data collection were briefed about purpose of data collection. They were briefed that their honest response to the questions may lead to correct research conclusions. They were also assured that their responses will not be disclosed to anyone. The total score (CGPA) of selected students were requested from their relevant departments soon after declaration of their results. Data were analyzed for frequency, percentages, comparisons and p value using SPSS version 21.

Table 1: Contingency table for sample (n=126)

Department###Male Students###Female Students###Total

Psychology###11###6###17

Education###12###4###16

Statistics###9###6###15

Economics###12###0###12

Management Sciences###12###5###17

Botany###9###7###16

Zoology###12###6###18

Computer Sciences###12###3###15

Total###89###37###126

Table 2: Gender-wise comparison of students on Westwide Test Anxiety Scale (n=126))

Variables###All Students###Male Students###Female Students

###Frequency###Percentages###Frequency###Percentages###Frequency###Percentages

Small###8###6.3###6###6.7###2###5.4

Test Anxiety

Moderate###17###13.5###7###7.9###10###27.0

Test Anxiety

High Normal###8###6.3###4###4.5###4###10.8

Test Anxiety

Moderately High###50###39.7###40###44.9###10###27.0

Test Anxiety

High###28###22.2###25###28.1###3###8.1

Test Anxiety

Extremely High###15###11.9###7###7.9###8###21.6

Test Anxiety

Total###126###100###89###100###37###100

Table 3: Relationship of university undergraduate students' academic achievement and test anxiety

Constructs###CGPA###Test Anxiety###p value

CGPA###1###.317**###.000

Test Anxiety###.317**###1

Table 2: Gender-wise differences among university students from the perspective of their CGPA and Westwide Test Anxiety Scale

###Male Students###Female Students

Variables###n=89###n=37###t###p value

###M###SD###M###SD

CGPA###2.8###0.47###3.19###0.44###4.32###.000

Test Anxiety###3.2###0.60###3.13###0.77###0.90###.366

RESULTS

There were 89 (70.63%) male and 37 (29.37%) female students in the present study. Our results revealed that 39.7% of undergraduate university students were suffering from moderately high test anxiety. Male students had 44.9% while female students had 27% moderately high test anxiety (Table 2). The correlation coefficient between CGPA and test anxiety of students was -.317 which shows inverse relationship (Table 3). The average CGPA of male students was 2.8 while female students had a CGPA of 3.19. Gender-wise differences among university students from the perspective of their CGPA and Westwide Test Anxiety Scale are shown in Table 4.

DISCUSSION

We observed that most of the university students had moderately high test anxiety. Our findings are in accordance with studies by Segool et al26 and Zhang et al27 who found that most of the students were going through moderate to high level of anxiety during their career. Methia28 also found that majority of school going children experience at least some test anxiety. This was also supported by Afzal et al29 who found high levels of test anxiety in medical students and recommended anxiety-reduction programmes for medical students. Matters et al30 also found that students with high level of test anxiety omit test item or some time do not respond to test item which leads to poor performance. Possible reasons for high level of test anxiety may be parental and teacher expectation, lengthy and extensive courses, lack of study and long duration of exams.

The negative relationship between students' test anxiety and academic attainments (in terms of CGPA) of undergraduate students was also supported by Chapell et al13 who found significant relationship between test anxiety and GPA in both undergraduate and graduate students. This was also supported by Rezazadeh et al31 who noted a negative relationship between test anxiety and academic achievement in undergraduate university students. On the other hand, Ogden32 observed no relationship between test anxiety and grade point average of students. Vogel et al33 also studied correlation of test anxiety and academic achievement of students and concluded that students showing high level of test anxiety and students with low level of test anxiety exhibited lower academic performance. In our study, female students showed significantly better performance than male students (CGPA of 3.19 vs. 2.8, respectively).

Our findings are supported by the study of Lao20 who reported that female students achieved higher CGPA as compared to male students. Fortin et al34 also concluded that female students had higher academic success as compared to male students. These findings, however, were contrary to the study by Mackintosh35 who noted that there are no gender differences in general intelligence. We found no gender differences in undergraduate students in terms of test anxiety. This was in conformity with the study by Soffer36 who showed that there was no significant gender difference on test anxiety in elementary school students. However, he found that female students experience high level of test anxiety than males at different grades levels. Hembree37 also revealed that female students experience higher levels of test anxiety than male students. McDonald8 noted that although there are apparent gender differences but the occurrence of test anxiety becomes more similar across sexes.

CONCLUSION

Moderately high test anxiety was found in undergraduate university students thus negatively affecting their academic achievements. Male and female undergraduate students exhibited similar test anxiety. Undergraduate female students showed better performance as compared to male undergraduate students.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Student may be provided with institutional help through various stress reduction programs to help students in reducing test anxiety and increasing their academic achievements. University and college teachers may arrange counseling sessions for students to assess their test anxiety and increase their test taking skills and confidence. Further research studies are needed probe into other factors such as culture, family background, institutional facilities, parental education, peer pressure, parental expectations and test administration.

REFERENCES

1. Feldman RS. Essentials of understanding psychology. Boston: McGraw-Hill; 2006.

2. Hansenne M, Legrand J. Creativity, emotional intelligence, and school performance in children. Int J Educ Res 2012; 53:264-8.

3. Stober J. Dimensions of test anxiety: Relations to ways of coping with pre-exam anxiety and uncertainty. Anxiety Stress Cop 2004;17:213-26.

4. Aqdasi AS, Fattahi SM. Effects of stress inoculation training on test anxiety and academic performance of female students. J Educ 2012; 5:33-4.

5. Wachelka D, Katz RC. Reducing test anxiety and improving academic self-esteem in high school and college students with learning disabilities. J behav ther Exp Psychiatry 1999; 30:191-8.

6. Tooranposhti MG. A new approach for test anxiety treatment, academic achievement and met cognition. Int J Inf Educ Technol 2011; 1:221-30.

7. Ndirangu GW, Muola JM, Kithuka MR, Nassiuma DK. An investigation of the relationship between test anxiety and academic performance in secondary schools in Nyeri District, Kenya. Glob J Educ Res 2009; 8:1.

8. McDonald AS. The prevalence and effects of test anxiety in school children. Educ Psychol 2001; 21:89-101.

9. Cassady JC, Johnson RE. Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance. Contemp Educ Psychol 2002; 27:270-95.

10. Barrows J, Dunn S, Lloyd CA. Anxiety, self-efficacy and college exam grades. Univ J Educ Res 2013; 1:204-8.

11. Lufi D, Okasha S, Cohen A. Test anxiety and its effect on the personality of students with learning disabilities. Learn Disab Quart 2004; 27:176-84.

12. Smyth TS. Who is no child left behind leaving behind?. Clearing House: J Educ Strat Issu Ideas 2008; 81:133-7.

13. Chapell MS, Blanding ZB, Silverstein ME, Takahashi M, Newman B, Gubi A, McCann N. Test anxiety and academic performance in undergraduate and graduate students. J Educ Psychol 2005; 97:268-74.

14. Warren MK, Ollendick TH, King NJ. Test anxiety in girls and boys: A clinical-developmental analysis. Behav Change 1996; 13:157-70.

15. Knox D, Schacht C, Turner J. Virtual reality: A proposal for treating test anxiety in college students. Coll Stud J 1993; 27:294-6.

16. Putwain DW, Larkin D, Sander P. A reciprocal model of achievement goals and learning related emotions in the first year of undergraduate study. Contemp Educ Psychol 2013; 38:361-74.

17. Eum K, Rice KG. Test anxiety, perfectionism, goal orientation, and academic performance. Anxiety Stress Cop 2011; 24:167-78.

18. Lapointe JM, Legault F, Batiste SJ. Teacher interpersonal behavior and adolescents' motivation in mathematics: A comparison of learning disabled, average, and talented students. Int J Educ Res 2005; 43:39-54.

19. Colom R, Lynn R. Testing the developmental theory of sex differences in intelligence on 12-18 year olds. Pers Indiv Diff 2004; 36:75-82.

20. Lao RC. Differential factors affecting male and female academic performance in high school. J Psychol 1980; 104:119.

21. Mulvenon SW, Stegman CE, Ritter G. Test anxiety: A multifaceted study on the perceptions of teachers, principals, counselors, students, and parents. Int J Test 2005; 5:37-61.

22. Lepp A, Barkley JE, Karpinski AC. The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and satisfaction with life in college students. Comp Hum Behav 2014; 31:343-50.

23. Ebrahimi M, Bourani MK, Mazloom M, Asadi HR, Fazeli E, Khanghah SS et al. Impact of Coping Skills Training in Reducing Test Anxiety. Case Study: Second Grade High School in Tehran. J Admin Manag Educ Train 2017; 13:315-22.

24. Gay LR, Mills GE, Airasain PW. Educational research competencies for analysis and application. 10th Ed. Columbus: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall; 2011.

25. Driscoll R. Westside Test Anxiety Scale Validation. Am Test Anxiety Asso; 2007.

26. Segool NK, Carlson JS, Goforth AN, Von Der Embse N, Barterian JA. Heightened Test Anxiety among Young Children: Elementary School Students'anxious Responses to High-Stakes Testing. Psychol Schools 2013; 50:489-99.

27. Zhang N, Henderson CNR. Test anxiety and academic performance in chiropractic students. J Chiropr Educ 2014; 28:2-8.

28. Methia D. Help your child overcome test anxiety and achieve higher test scores. Virtual bookworm; 2004. Available at: https://www.amazon. com/Overcome-Anxiety-Achieve-Higher-Scores/ dp/1589396715

29. Afzal H, Afzal S, Siddique SA, Naqvi SA. Measures used by medical students to reduce test anxiety. J Pak Med Assoc 2012; 62:982-6.

30. Matters G, Burnett PC. Psychological predictors of the propensity to omit short-response items on a high-stakes achievement test. Educ Psychol Measur 2003; 63:239-56.

31. Rezazadeh M, Tavakoli M. Investigating the relationship among test anxiety, gender, academic achievement and years of study: A case of Iranian EFL university students. Eng Lang Teach 2009; 2:68-74.

32. Ogden JS. Public Speaking Anxiety, Test Anxiety, and Academic Achievement in Undergraduate Students. Master Thesis; 2010. Available at: https://digitalcommons.bucknell.edu/masters_theses/51/

33. Vogel HL, Collins AL. The relationship between test anxiety and academic performance. J Abnorm Soc Psychol 2006; 67:523-32. Available at: https://www. ijsr.net/archive/v4i10/SUB158870.pdf

34. Fortin NM, Oreopoulos P, Phipps S. Leaving boys behind gender disparities in high academic achievement. J Hum Resour 2015; 50:549-79.

35. Mackintosh NJ. Reply to Lynn. J Biosoc Sci 1998; 30:533-9.

36. Soffer ME. Elementary Students' Test Anxiety in Relation to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Florida State Univ; 2008. Available at: https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/ fsu:176150/datastream/PDF/view

37. Hembree R. Correlates, causes, effects, and treatment of test anxiety. Rev Educ Res 1988; 58:47-77.
COPYRIGHT 2018 Asianet-Pakistan
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2018 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Ahmad, Nasir; Hussain, Sajjad; Khan, Farooq Nawaz
Publication:Journal of Postgraduate Medical Institute
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 30, 2018
Words:3150
Previous Article:COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS OF TAMSULOSIN VERSUS STANDARD MEDICAL THERAPY FOR MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF SMALL URETERIC STONES.
Next Article:EFFECT OF SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE ON QUALITY OF LIFE AMONG ORTHOPEDICALLY DISABLED STUDENTS FROM INCLUSIVE AND SPECIAL INSTITUTES.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters