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ERIC Number: ED545708
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 157
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-126757-237-0
Exploring the Experiences of Test-Anxious Ethnic Minority Students: A Narrative Study
Adegbola, David O.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
Test anxiety (TA) has been recognized as a significant and challenging problem in all cultures and at all academic levels. Numerous empirical studies have been conducted to investigate the problem in order to identify the causes, conduct assessments, and develop intervention strategies, but little research has been done to investigate how family environments and sociocultural factors influence its development and/or sustain it among ethnic minority students in the United States. Families, inexperienced educators, and school psychologists may not understand the impact of experiences perceived by racial minority adolescents as stressful. Therefore, they may not know how the consequent fear may influence the development of anxious apprehension to school-related activities that involve evaluations. The purpose of this qualitative study was twofold: (a) to understand clearly the roles of nonevaluative situational experiences that make ethnic minority students in the United States vulnerable to stress and (b) to gain insight into how such stress translates into test anxiety and performance decrement. The study utilized a narrative methodology to examine the experiences of 16 test-anxious racial minority students currently enrolled in two Southern New Jersey high schools. Emotional theory was used as a theoretical lens to evaluate the data collected through semi-structured conversational interviewing. Accurate transcriptions of the narratives and observations were documented following the interviews. Transcripts were carefully studied to note patterns across participants' stories and meanings were constructed interactively. Experiences reported from familial and sociocultural contexts include parental physical/emotional absence, domestic violence, financial troubles, and social derogation. Participants identified four constituents: "negative emotional feelings and strains," "unstable emotion." "performance avoidance goal," and "decreased/increased emotional strength." The findings suggest that stressful experiences initiate or exacerbate anxiety that causes functional impairment in school. Helping children deal with their emotions may be an important strategy to neutralize unfavorable feelings caused by environmental stress. Education programs for parents and sensitivity trainings for new educators were recommended. Recommendations for future research include the use of a narrative methodology for a larger sample that includes teachers, parents, and significant others to allow for a deeper investigation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey