ERIC Number: ED333027
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Test Anxiety in Different Curricular Areas: An Exploratory Analysis of the Role of Subject Matter.
Everson, Howard T.; And Others
Prior research suggests that the traditionally difficult academic subject matter, such as mathematics or the natural sciences, may evoke greater levels of evaluative (test) anxiety than curricular areas with easier content. These higher levels of anxiety may contribute to poor performance in mathematics and science courses. College freshmen's self-reported test anxieties were explored in four traditional academic curricular areas: (1) English; (2) mathematics; (3) science; and (4) social studies. It was hypothesized that students would report greater anxiety when they thought that mastery of a subject required precise answers rather than a general understanding of the subject matter. A total of 214 students (139 males and 75 females) attending a pre-freshman summer program at a major urban university were randomly assigned to groups in a 4 x 3 factorial design of subject matter by demand instructions. The Worry-Emotionality Scale was adapted to elicit students' anxiety concerning future college examinations in the four academic subjects. A five-item Likert-type scale was developed to determine students' perceptions about the difficulty of the academic subjects. Analysis of covariance results show that science elicited the highest levels of self-reported evaluative anxiety, after controlling for perceptions of subject matter difficulty. The effects for demand instructions were not significant. The implications of the results for both the role of test anxiety in science courses and the importance of subject matter in test anxiety research are considered. Three tables are included; the two scales are appended. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Self Report Measures; Worry Emotionality Scale (Morris Davis Hutchings)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).