An evaluation of the factor structure and predictive utility of a test anxiety scale with reference to students' past performance and personality indices

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Background. Scales of test anxiety have developed in parallel with the evolution of the test anxiety construct. A recently refined version of the Revised Test Anxiety scale offers the prospect of independently assessing different test anxiety factors. Aims. The study aims to ascertain if the four-factor structure of the RTA scale found in Egyptian and American samples can be replicated in an Irish sample, and to examine the comparative predictive utility of cognitive and emotionality factors in relation to examination performance. The study also examines whether results support an Interference or Deficits Model of test anxiety, and assesses the relationship of test anxiety to personality variables believed to be relevant to academic performance. Sample. The participants were 117 male and female psychology students from the University of Ulster. Their average age was 23 years. Method. Data were analysed using correlation analysis, multiple regression, factor analysis and ANOVA. Examination performance was the criterion variable; predictor variables were the four factors of test anxiety, three personality measures and previous examination performance. Results. Four-factor test anxiety invariance across diverse populations is supported by the model in the analysis. Cognitive factors are significant negative predictors of performance. The data do not support either an Interference or Deficits Model of test anxiety, and personality factors, especially self-efficacy, were significantly (negatively) related to test anxiety. Conclusions. The two cognitive factors have emerged as the most substantial negative predictors of examination performance. Attention to these factors and to relevant personality indices are commended as a potentially fruitful strategy for remedial intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-32
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue numberPart 1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000


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