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Does expressive writing or an instructional intervention reduce the impacts of test anxiety in a college classroom?

, Sara D. Davis, Jason C. K. Chan
Published: 10 June 2021

Abstract: Test anxiety is a major concern in education because it causes uncomfortable feelings in test-anxious students and may reduce the validity of exam scores as a measure of learning. As such, brief and cost-effective interventions are necessary to minimize the negative impact of test anxiety on students’ academic performance. In the present experiment, we examine two such interventions: expressive writing (Experiment 1) and an instructional intervention (Experiment 2), with the latter developed from a similar intervention for stereotype threat. Across four authentic exams in a psychology class, students alternated between completing the intervention and a control task immediately before completing the exams. Neither intervention was effective at reducing test anxiety or improving exam performance. The present results suggest that these interventions may not be successful in addressing the impacts of test anxiety in all classroom settings.
Keywords: Test anxiety / Instructional intervention / Expressive writing

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