Master's Theses


Advanced Education Programs

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)


The present study examined test anxiety and how several variables combined to affect performance. Test anxiety has been viewed as a physiological component, as a derivative of self-concept, a skills deficit, a cognitive component, etc. This study was designed to consider a wide variety of aspects that interact with test anxiety in order to discern how they in turn affect performance outcome. It was the intent of this study to not discount any theory but use the concepts derived by each and formulate a more comprehensive viewpoint of test anxiety. This study utilized 94 subjects (43 females, 51 males) with ages ranging from 18 to 55. These subjects completed a series of questionnaires regarding test anxiety, performance expectancy, attitudes toward anxiety, and cognitions experienced while taking an exam. These questionnaires were administered one week before they were to take a class exam and then again on the day of the exam. A recurrent theme in this study was the effect cognitive variables had on test anxiety and performance. A cognitive interference measure correlated with grade r=-.39, p<.01 and with test anxiety r=-56, p<.01. Another finding from this study included confirming that test anxiety and outcome performance are multiply determined and a study which focuses solely on any individual factor would be incomplete. Most of the correlations between variables were in concordance with previous research except facilitative anxiety. It was found that facilitative anxiety was positively correlated with test anxiety and negatively correlated with grade. To summarize, the results from the present study support the multiple determination theory of Sieber (1980). This theory states that no one variable can determine the origin of test anxiety because it is impossible to separate out the effects each individual variable has on anxiety. The present study also supports the work of Meichenbaum and Butler (1980). They proclaim that test anxiety is a cognitive-attentional phenomenon. Many of the meaningful results of this study came from cognitive aspects of test anxiety.


Robert Markley

Date of Award

Summer 1994

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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