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Test Anxiety and Its Impact on Diverse Undergraduate Engineering Students During Remote Learning

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Studies of Classroom Assessment: Exam Wrappers, Equitable Grading, Test Anxiety, and Use of Reflection

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Educational Research and Methods

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David A. Copp University of California, Irvine Orcid 16x16

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David A. Copp received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Teaching at the University of California, Irvine in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Prior to joining UCI, he was a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories and an adjunct faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico. His broad research interests include engineering education, as well as control and optimization of nonlinear and hybrid systems with applications to power and energy systems, multi-agent systems, robotics, and biomedicine. He is a recipient of UCSB's Center for Control, Dynamical Systems, and Computation Best PhD Thesis award and a recipient of a UCI Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentorship.

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Alexander J. Headley University of Memphis Orcid 16x16

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Test anxiety can have a significant negative impact on students’ mental health, academic performance, and persistence of marginalized or underrepresented students in engineering degree programs. With the recent transition to remote learning, test anxiety may be exacerbated by a number of factors related to students’ access to resources, study habits, and exam formats. In this paper, we present students’ self-reported responses to survey questions related to these aspects of remote learning as well as questions specific to test anxiety that come from the MotivatedStrategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). We survey undergraduate engineering students from multiple departments at two different four-year universities (University of California, Irvine and University of Memphis) and perform statistical analyses of responses to assess the impact of these factors on students’ test anxiety and academic performance. We compare responses of students from different demographic groups using pairwise statistical tests to understand the degree to which underrepresented minority, female, low income, first generation, and transfer students may be uniquely affected by these factors.Furthermore, we investigate the relationship between test anxiety, GPA, class level, and number of enrolled units. Results suggest similar remote learning experiences and challenges for all students, though female students report the highest level of test anxiety, and higher test anxiety is negatively correlated with GPA for all students. These results will inform future data collection and analysis as we return to in person learning to better distinguish the impacts of exam and learning formats on diverse students’ anxiety and academic performance.

Copp, D. A., & Headley, A. J. (2021, July), Test Anxiety and Its Impact on Diverse Undergraduate Engineering Students During Remote Learning Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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