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Effects of Test Anxiety on Engineering Students’ STEM Success

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Educational Research and Methods Division (ERM) Best Paper Finalists

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34511

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34511

Download Count

168

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Paper Authors

biography

Justin Charles Major Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3111-8509

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Justin C. Major is a fourth-year Ph.D Candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Purdue University Engineering Education Program. As an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), Justin completed Bachelor's degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Secondary Mathematics Education with an informal emphasis in engineering education. Through his involvement in the UNR PRiDE Research Lab and engagement with the UNR and Northern Nevada STEM Education communities, he studied student motivation, active learning, and diversity; developed K-12 engineering education curriculum; and advocated for socioeconomically just access to STEM education. As a Ph.D. Candidate with the STRiDE Research Lab at Purdue University, Justin's dissertation research focuses on the study of Intersectionality Theory and the intersectionality of socioeconomic inequality in engineering education, use of critical quantitative methodology and narrative inquiry to understand the complex stories of engineering students from traditionally minoritized backgrounds, and the pursuit of a socioeconomically just engineering education.

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Matthew Scheidt Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6779-1992

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Matthew Scheidt is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University with a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing. Matt is currently part of Dr. Allison Godwin’s STRIDE (Shaping Transformative Research on Identity and Diversity in Engineering) research group at Purdue. Matt’s research interests include engineering student success, both quantitatively and qualitatively. He is also interested in military veterans success in engineering.

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Allison Godwin Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0741-3356

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Allison Godwin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses what factors influence diverse students to choose engineering and stay in engineering through their careers and how different experiences within the practice and culture of engineering foster or hinder belongingness and identity development. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. Her research earned her a National Science Foundation CAREER Award focused on characterizing latent diversity, which includes diverse attitudes, mindsets, and approaches to learning, to understand engineering students’ identity development. She has won several awards for her research including the 2016 American Society of Engineering Education Educational Research and Methods Division Best Paper Award and the 2018 Benjamin J. Dasher Best Paper Award for the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference. She has also been recognized for the synergy of research and teaching as an invited participant of the 2016 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium and the Purdue University 2018 recipient of School of Engineering Education Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the 2018 College of Engineering Exceptional Early Career Teaching Award.

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Edward J. Berger Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0337-7607

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Edward Berger is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, joining Purdue in August 2014. He has been teaching mechanics for over 20 years, and has worked extensively on the integration and assessment of specific technology interventions in mechanics classes. He was one of the co-leaders in 2013-2014 of the ASEE Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for mechanics educators across the country. His current research focuses on student problem-solving processes and use of worked examples, change models and evidence-based teaching practices in engineering curricula, and the role of non-cognitive and affective factors in student academic outcomes and overall success.

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John Chen California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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John Chen is a professor of mechanical engineering. His interests in engineering education include conceptual learning, conceptual change, student autonomy and motivation, lifelong learning skills and behaviors, and non-cognitive factors that lead to student success.

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Abstract

In this research paper, we explore the impact of test anxiety on first-year engineering students' STEM success. Exams are a prevalent mechanism for evaluating student learning in engineering. However, when confronted with an exam, some students suffer from test anxiety, resulting in detrimental impacts to their performance in engineering. Outside of engineering education, test anxiety has been negatively correlated to GPA. However, there have been few test anxiety-GPA studies in engineering. Studies from other fields, like biology, indicate that there are persistent gender-based "grade anomalies" between women's performance in science courses compared to their overall GPA. Many studies indicate that these results are not due to group differences in abilities, but rather structural challenges that differentially affect members of underrepresented groups. Based on this prior work, we investigate the previously studied role of gender and race/ethnicity on levels of test anxiety and performance in STEM; we also explore the role of neighborhood socioeconomic status and first-generation status. Test anxiety was measured using self-reported responses to the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). We first used pairwise tests to examine between-group average differences. Then, we examined the relationship between test anxiety and first-year engineering students' grade point average (GPA) in science, mathematics, engineering, and in STEM courses overall as mediated by their group membership. Results suggest test anxiety positively (directionally), but problematically (experiencing anxiety), impacts performance for women in science, mathematics, and STEM overall. We discuss these findings in relation to the STEM “gender filter” further.

Major, J. C., & Scheidt, M., & Godwin, A., & Berger, E. J., & Chen, J. (2020, June), Effects of Test Anxiety on Engineering Students’ STEM Success Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34511

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