This study examined effects of test anxiety level and immediate knowledge of results (KR) during testing in an actual class with the test scores being used for course grades. Subjects were 78 volunteers in an introductory nutrition course. Hypotheses were that students having "facilitative" test anxiety would normally show higher achievement on tests than students having "debilitative" test anxiety, but that the latter would show higher achievement when immediate KR was provided because provision of KR would focus attention on the task. The study also examined whether there were characteristics besides test anxiety indicative of liking for immediate KR and choice of KR for the third and last course exam. Other areas investigated included influence of test reliability, possible bias introduced by the informed consent requirement, and whether a "self-focus" as opposed to a "task-focus" orientation could be identified for subjects. Scores on the Achievement Anxiety Test (AAT) were categorized into Most Affecteds, Facilitators, Debilitators, and Least Affecteds and subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Group 1 received KR on test 1 but not on test 2; Group 2 received KR on test 2 but not on test 1; and Group 3, the control group, never received KR. Prior to test 3, Groups 1 and 2 chose whether they would like to receive KR on test 3, the last course exam. Immediate KR was provided using pre-coded answer sheets which subjects marked with chemically treated wax crayons. Results indicated that subjects did not show significantly different achievement regardless of anxiety level or provision of immediate KR, although a pattern of the group means suggested (p=.07) that the performance of Facilitators and Least Affecteds might have been inhibited while that of Debilitators and Most Affecteds might have been enhanced by KR. Analysis of covariance indicated that test score variability could be accounted for by self-reported GPA. Item analysis of the achievement tests indicated that students found the tests easy,
which suggested that results might not have been significant because ability levels of subjects were high and all were able to do well. It is thus possible that test difficulty, and hence ability level, may play an important role in whether test anxiety level and/or immediate KR will facilitate achievement test performance in the classroom. Subjects reported that they liked receiving immediate KR, although approximately 30 percent said they would rather not know whether their answers were right or wrong. About 30 percent elected not to receive KR on the last course exam. No significant descriptive characteristics could be attributed to those choosing or not choosing KR, to differing test anxiety levels, or to test achievement. Descriptive characteristics of the "self-focus" construct could not be identified. Provision of immediate KR on classroom achievement tests appeared
to be relatively expensive, and was time consuming to prepare and to use. Therefore, cost/effectiveness must be considered.
Fruin, Marjorie F. Effects of Immediate Knowledge of Results and Test Anxiety on Achievement Test Performance in a College Classroom Setting. PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota. 1979.
Fruin, Marjorie Fugate.
Effects of Immediate Knowledge of Results and Test Anxiety on Achievement Test Performance in a College Classroom Setting.
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