Test Anxiety Essay

Test Anxiety Essay

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Contemporary society has been given the labels of “test-oriented” and “test-consuming” (Zeidner & Most, 1992) due to its extensive use of testing assessments as a primary agent in decisions that impact many areas of people’s lives. Test scores essentially control an individual’s status in grade school, college and employment. As one expert put it, “We live in a test conscious, test-giving culture in which the lives of people are in part determined by their test performance” (Sarason, 1959, p. 26). The increased use of tests and the high stakes that exam scores have on scholastic achievement and advancement has put students under more intense pressure to perform well on tests. (CITE) Consequently, the phenomenon of test anxiety has become a prevailing problem in today’s educational system.
Test anxiety has been defined as “the set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral reactions that accompany concern over possible negative consequences contingent upon performance in a test or evaluative situation” (Zeidner, 1998, p. 25-26). Overwhelming worrisome thoughts is often referred to as the hallmark symptom of test anxiety. Individuals are typically consumed with negative thoughts of potential failure in regards to testing situations. Wine’s (1971) “cognitive- attention” model attributes these negative cognitions responsible for less than optimal performance on tests because the individual is preoccupied with off-task information rather than being able to focus their attention on recalling relevant test material. (CITE) Test-anxiety also causes physiological changes to occur as a result of added stress in evaluative settings. The body responds to test stressors in a state of panic which causes heightened level of arousal and increased...


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...966). The effects of anxiety on complex learning and academic achievement. In C. D. Spielberger (Ed.), Anxiety and Behavior (pp. 361-398). New York: Academic Press.
Wigfield, A. and Eccles, J. (1989). Test anxiety in elementary and secondary school students. Educational Psychologist, 24, 149-183.
Wine, J. (1971). Test anxiety and direction of attention. Psychology Bulletin, 76, 92-104.
Wild, C. L., Durso, R. & Rubin, D. B. (1982). Effect of increased test-taking time on test scores by ethnic group, years out of school, and sex. Journal of Educational Measurement, 19(1), 19-28.
Zeidner, M. (1998). Test anxiety: The state of the art. New York: Plenum Press.
Zeidner, M., & Most, R. (1992). An introduction to psychological testing. In M. Zeidner & R. Most (Eds.), Psychological testing: An inside view (pp. 2-47). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.



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