Impact of Test Anxiety and Self-Efficacy on Test Performance

Title:

The title of the article that I am picking apart is the Impact of Test Anxiety and Self-Efficacy on Test Performance. This title is easily identified as an equation title because it identifies a relation that will explored in the article. In addition, the variables described are the key elements in the article. The basic content of the article is spelled out perfectly in the title. The article investigates how anxiety and self-efficacy effect test performance. They find that more focus should be on skill deficits and self-efficacy and not test anxiety. The title is very straightforward and tells me exactly what the article is about. I am clearly interested in this subject as I chose this article to be the centerpiece of this assignment.

Opening Points:

The opening of the article summarizes the goals and content of the article. The researchers come out and say exactly what the article is about. The opening is a synopsis as it gives a few bits of information that help get readers up to speed and information from previous studies on the same topic. The opening has a primary point, which is the synopsis point, and then both a lacuna point and a theoretical point, which are both secondary points. Both are obvious as with the lacuna point there is an obvious hole in the research that the researchers are trying to fill and the theoretical point speaks for itself. The opening most definitely gives a clear sense of the goals and orientations of the authors as the first sentence comes right out and tells you what they are researching.

Abstract:

The article does have an abstract, which is the first paragraph that includes 115 words. The abstract can most definitely be decoded as it provides a purpose, problem, participants, design, analysis, results, and conclusion in sequential sentences. The abstract hits those points one sentence at a time and they are easily identifiable. The abstract explains everything clearly and makes the readers want to continue reading the rest of the article.

Research Goals:

The article’s research goals are clearly stated. They make it clear that the researchers used predictions to develop the goals and questions. “The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of test anxiety and self-efficacy in cognitive interference on test performance. ” This is a quote directly from the article and says exactly what the research goal is. The article is most definitely exploring an area that was misunderstood as it shows through its references to other studies that have proven to be incomplete.

Research Questions:

The article gives three research questions to be studied and analyzed throughout the article. The questions are in the form of a hypothesis and are clearly used as predictions of what the researchers will find. The hypothesis’ are: high test anxiety would be associated with cognitive interference as well as poor test performance, individuals with low self-efficacy would exhibit cognitive interference and poor test performance, and there will be an interaction between text anxiety and self-efficacy. In my own words I would say that the research question is how do self-efficacy and test anxiety effect cognitive interference and test taking abilities. The research question is basic, as it appears to be fueled by curiousity. The researcher plans to answer the question by giving participants the Test Anxiety Scale and then have them solve a series of anagram problems while providing self-efficacy ratings in between each of the tasks. At the end of the anagram test, the researchers had participants complete a Cognitive Interference Questionnaire.

Research Argument:

The research argument for this article is pretty simple and straightforward. The argument does not waste any time and gets right to the point. It is extremely linear, and is certainly a set-up argument as it gives information that leads up to the research question. The argument gives some information on previous studies and grounds the research question in practical experiences.

Literature Review:

There are twenty-four references listed that the researchers used when doing this study. The journal cites studies referenced that are similar to their study. The section is not super extensive, however it does tell you a little more to help you understand where the article is coming from and what their basis is for wanting to perform this study. The review certainly covers studies in my opinion as I have heard of Bandura and Sarason as well as a couple of others that pop up. I do not know if they are necessarily experts, but I do recognize their names and bits of their work. The literature review covers classic research and not current research. All of the references are from before the year 2000. Also, the references certainly can point me in a direction that I can follow up on this study and learn more about these topics.

Sample:

The sample in this study is 93 undergraduates from a Midwestern university. The mean age of these students was 21.6 years, and 67.7% were female. All possessed between 13-14 years of education. The study uses a convenience sample, as students in the university receive extra credit in their introductory psychology classes for participating. Is this appropriate, sure why not.

Research Design:

The type of research design used in this study is experimental because they manipulate the situations. The study is quantitative and the key variables that the researchers looked for were, test anxiety, self-efficacy, and cognitive interference. The design is pretty straight forward and easy to identify.

Discussions and Conclusions:

The study explains its findings by going through each research question/hypothesis and summarizing what they found. The discussion does not just summarize the main findings, however, but also compares the findings to those in other similar studies. This helps to verify the information and make it a little more concrete. The discussion is very clear as it interprets the main findings. There were not really any perplexing or unexpected results for the discussion to address. The discussion shows that this study compares to many other theories and research results that can help lead to further understanding of the main findings in this study.

Summary and Technical Issues:

This study was extremely interesting to me. It is something that is important and clearly something that can help me when I try to get my students to perform well on tests, even the dreaded government tests that determine the schools funding and how your class compares to every other class at that level. There were not any obvious errors that I picked up on in this study, I think it did a nice job of testing the hypothesis’ and I can not think of anything that I would have really done differently. The study is certainly generalizable as it can be completed anywhere with any group. It was conducted in the Midwest, but could easily be done in the south, east coast, west coast, ect. The idea of how realistic this study is may be the only potential problem that I have with this study. How anxious could the subjects be about a test that does not matter and is anonymous. They are receiving their extra credit whether they perform well or not, so I feel as though the anxiety measurements are not realistic.

This project has made me feel so much more comfortable with reading journal articles. Before this class I would have never picked up a journal and read the articles that look appealing. Now I am not overwhelmed by the idea of them and can probably learn a lot about teaching by looking into some more. I definitely came out of this project with a newfound respect for journal articles and an interest in continuing to read and understand them.