Cognitive Test Anxiety by v95E27K


									Cognitive Test Anxiety

    Jerrell C. Cassady
                Test Anxiety
Classically categorized into 2 components:
• Emotionality (Affective TA)
  – Heightened physiological activity
  – Appraisal of panic symptoms as related to tests
• Worry -- aka “Cognitive Test Anxiety”
  –   Self-deprecating ruminations
  –   Distraction
  –   Interference
  –   Poor cognitive processing
     Cognitive Test Anxiety
• Most commonly affiliated component
  with performance deficits:
  – IQ
  – Standardized tests of achievement
  – Classroom tests
  – Performance activities (alt. assessments)
  – Memory tasks
      Cognitive Test Anxiety
Cognitive Interference Model
• Information is available to the learner, but the
  anxiety leads to interference with retrieval
• Cue overload due to inappropriate “restriction
  of range” for the memorial attempt
• Inappropriate attentional focus
• Strategically-flawed LTM search strategies
      Cognitive Test Anxiety
Information Processing Model
• Multiple aspects of the learning/retrieval
  system lead to poor outcomes
• Inappropriate encoding strategies prohibit
  effective acquisition
• Ineffective rehearsal strategies limit long term
  storage and retrieval
• Deficient organization prohibits optimal recall
        Additive Model of TA
Full awareness of impact of TA on learning
  is available only when considering both
  “state” and “trait” components of TA.
• Trait-level test anxiety refers to typical level of
  anxiety for tests (present in all testing
• State or situational factors include: threat of
  current test, self-confidence for content,
  awareness of study preparedness, external
  pressures (teacher, parent) for specific test
     Learning - Testing Cycle
Test Preparation Phase
• Study skills & strategies
• Study time and efficiency (repetition)
• Procrastination -- impedes primarly at “finals”
• Cognitive processing/encoding
• Surface-level processing
• Low self-regulation (monitor effort and progress)
• Perceived threat of tests
• Misappraisal of need to study/prepare
    Learning - Testing Cycle
Test Performance Phase
• Anxiety blockage phenomenon (high anxiety,
  good study skills, easy items)
• Interference during test session
• Distraction from test
• Decision-making impaired under stressful
  situations when “confidence” levels fall for
• Initial response to items on test -- panic and
  fear response
     Learning - Testing Cycle
Test Reflection Phase
• Interpretation of failure/success (attributions)
• Self-efficacy judgments
• Goal establishment for future tests
• Development of “fear” for tests -- (ie, tests are seen
  as threatening events -- sparking avoidance,
• Helplessness orientations
• Influence coping strategies in future test situations
Cassady, J. C. (2001). The stability of undergraduate students'
cognitive test anxiety levels. Practical Assessment, Research
& Evaluation, 7(20). Available online:
• Report on stability of CTA over time
• Stable “trait-like” measure of test
Cassady, J. C., & Johnson, R. E. (2002). Cognitive test
anxiety, procrastination, and academic performance.
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 270-295.

• High cognitive test anxiety associated with
  lower performance on course exams and
• Gender differences exist in reported CTA, but
  no impact on performance
• Moderate emotionality helps test
• CTA related to procrastination -- however
  procrastination only impaired performance on
  final exam
Cassady, J. C. (2004). The influence of cognitive test anxiety
across the learning-testing cycle. Learning and Instruction,
14(6), 569-592.

• Test anxious students have same
  number of notes for test, but have more
  “copied definitions”
• Higher “perceived threat” for tests
• Lower self-reported study skills
• Higher emotionality scores
• Lower test scores
• Higher rates of “helplessness”
Cassady, J. C. (2004). The impact of cognitive test anxiety on
text comprehension and recall in the absence of salient
evaluative pressure. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18(3),
• Cognitive test anxiety influences performance on
  memory and test tasks even when there is no salient
  external evaluative pressure.
• Performance did not vary greatly for test anxious
  students based on “form” of task in non-evaluative
  setting -- suggesting general processing issue
• Cognitive test anxiety had a larger loading factor for
  “high evaluative pressure” situations -- supporting the
  additive model.
• Cognitive test anxiety is largely a trait construct.
Cassady, J. C., Mohammed, A., & Mathieu, L. (2004).
Cross-cultural differences in test anxiety: Women in Kuwait
and the United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology,
35(6), 715-718.
• Females in US and Kuwait differ in their
  anxiety profiles for tests.
• US females -- higher perceived threat
  for testing situations
• Kuwait females -- higher levels of
• Collectivist vs competitive society view
Cassady, J. C. & Gridley, B. E. (2005). The effects of online
formative and summative assessment on test anxiety and
performance. Journal of Technology, Learning, & Assessment
4(1). Available online:

• No evidence that online testing induces greater test
  anxiety than in-class
• HIGHER perceived threat of tests for in-class tests
  (lower personal control)
• Practice tests (online) provided boost to performance
  on summative tests (immediate post-performance
• Practice tests provide test anxious students with a
  reasonable strategy to overcome typical negative
  outcomes -- greater personal control over
                New work
• Argentina & US sample -- demonstrated slight
  difference in representations for tests. Self-
  other comparisons unusual in Argentina
• Revision of CTA -- shorter, all positively
  worded, new items focusing on preparation
• Notes study -- content analysis of notes from
  students with varied levels of CTA
• CTA and online testing -- timing of tests as
  well as number of tests taken as practice
          Next Direction
• Expanding “Academic Anxiety”
• Connection to depression and related
• Examination from perspectives of
  coping and emotional intelligence
• Younger populations

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