Many college students have test anxiety that impairs their academic performance. For example, a study of students in an undergraduate psychology class found that high test-anxious students had lower scores than low test-anxous students on all three course exams (Cassady & Johnson, 2002). Results like these are typical; test-anxious students underperform on examinations.
But recent research has uncovered a way to reduce the negative effects of test anxiety. And, the intervention is surprisingly easy to implement in college courses. Professor Sian Beilock and her colleagues at the University of Chicago have shown that test anxious students who write about their test-related worries for a few minutes just before an examination perform closer to their actual potential—essentially eliminating the negative effects of anxiety (Beilock, 2010; Ramirez & Beilock, 2011). For more information see the short video below.
If you would like to use the expressive writing strategy to reduce students' test anxiety in your classes, here are a few resources and recommendations:
1. Review the Expressive Writing Prompt and the Cognitive Test Anxiety Scale. The Cognitive Test Anxiety Questionnaire is a 27 item scale, developed by Cassady & Johnson (2002), that measures students' anxiety related to test taking. You can use the scale to measure how much test anxiety students experience in your classes.
2. Read these guidelines about how to use the strategy in your classes Download Using the Expressive Writing Strategy to Reduce Students’ Test Anxiety
3. To make it easier for instructors to use the Cognitive Anxiety Scale we have made it accessible for download directly into your D2L courses. Click HERE to download the questionnaire for import into your D2L course. Instructions on how to import the file into your D2L course are found here (file has audio instructions): https://screencast.com/t/MpypAd3c95 Once your students complete the questionnaire, you can run a report in D2L to see the results. Instructions on how to run this report in D2L are found here (file has audio instructions): https://screencast.com/t/g1DsNaRvhUav