Do Higher Exam Grades Predict Higher Standards of Success and More Test Anxiety?
Iverson, Shannon B.
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The current study used a short-term, prospective design to examine the relationships among test anxiety, test performance, students' standards for success, and students' test selfefficacy (i.e., performance expectancies). College freshmen (N = 171) enrolled in an introductory psychology course during their first semester of college completed Time 1 questionnaires about one week before their first in-class exam. One hundred two participants (56% of Time 1 participants) completed Time 2 questionnaires up to one week after learning the results of their test scores and about two weeks prior to their second in-class exam. Irrelevant Thinking subscale scores on the Revised Test Anxiety Scale (RTA) predicted second exam scores, even after controlling for first exam scores. High exam scores predicted increases in personal standards but not in perceived instructor's standards, even after controlling for prior standards. High exam scores also predicted increases in personal standards and test self-efficacy (belief in one's ability to perform well on a test) in the low test anxious group but not in the high test anxious group. This study supports past research in so far as it provides evidence that test anxiety predicts lower test performance, but test performance does not predict changes in test anxiety. Among two test anxiety groups (low vs. high), the relationship between exam scores and standards for success as well as the relationship between exam scores and self-efficacy are explored. The implications are discussed in terms of possible self-handicapping behaviors and self-focused attention.