ERIC Number: EJ1079574
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Comparison of Physical Therapy Anatomy Performance and Anxiety Scores in Timed and Untimed Practical Tests
Schwartz, Sarah M.; Evans, Cathy; Agur, Anne M.R.
Anatomical Sciences Education, v8 n6 p518-524 Nov-Dec 2015
Students in health care professional programs face many stressful tests that determine successful completion of their program. Test anxiety during these high stakes examinations can affect working memory and lead to poor outcomes. Methods of decreasing test anxiety include lengthening the time available to complete examinations or evaluating students using untimed examinations. There is currently no consensus in the literature regarding whether untimed examinations provide a benefit to test performance in clinical anatomy. This study aimed to determine the impact of timed versus untimed practical tests on Master of Physical Therapy student anatomy performance and test anxiety. Test anxiety was measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Differences in performance, anxiety scores, and time taken were compared using paired sample Student's t-tests. Eighty-one of the 84 students completed the study and provided feedback. Students performed significantly higher on the untimed test (P?=?0.005), with a significant reduction in test anxiety (P?<?0.001). Students who were unsuccessful on the timed test showed the greatest improvement on the untimed test (x-bar?=?20.4 ±10%). Eighty-three percent (n?=?69) of students preferred the untimed test, 8.4% (n?=?7) the timed test, and 8.4% (n?=?7) had no preference. Students took on average eight minutes longer on the untimed test. This study found that physical therapy students perform better on untimed tests, which may be related to a reduction in test anxiety. If the intended goal of evaluating health care professional students is to determine fundamental competencies, these factors should be considered when designing future curricula.
Descriptors: Anatomy, Test Anxiety, Physical Therapy, Achievement, College Students, Allied Health Personnel, Scores, Statistical Analysis, Timed Tests, Time, Comparative Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: State Trait Anxiety Inventory