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Full text of "Three individualized treatments for test anxiety and academic achievement among community college students"

THREE INDIVIDUALIZED TREATMENTS

FOR TEST ANXIETY AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

AMONG COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS



By
CAROLYN SUE POE



A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT

OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1992



This dissertation is dedicated to ray extended
family. They all played a part in shaping my beliefs,
values, and desires. They are most important to me.

A special dedication is extended to my late uncle,
Colonel Gerald Decker, and my aunt, Shirley Decker.
They gave me special direction and encouraged my
educational pursuits.



^



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Numerous individuals supported me in this work.
First, I want to thank those who were most supportive
of me during the long struggle to complete this work.
My heartfelt warmth and appreciation is extended to a
close friend, Marc Bell. I received continuous
encouragement from my son, Jeffery Poe, my mother,
Dorothy Austin, and my sister, Rochelle Emmel. Very
special thanks go to Dr. Jim Howell for his
contribution and assistance with the data and long
hours of consultation. Although there were many months
and miles between our communications, I am deeply
grateful to my chairman, Dr. Joseph Wittmer, for his
patient support, ongoing encouragement, and
knowledgeable suggestions to improve this research
project. Very special thanks go to my doctoral
committee, Dr. Joseph Wittmer, Dr. James Algina, and
Dr. Travis Carter. A special thank you is extended to
Dr. Algina for his help with the data analyses. I wish
to thank Dr. James Pitts for his assistance. I wish to
thank Priscilla Speicher for her proficient typing,
editing, and cheerful spirit. I am indebted to many

iii



other friends and family members who struggled along
with me often listening to my painful changes in the
manuscript.

Thanks are also extended to Dr. Alice Martin,
Peter Cummings, Ed Foley, Paula and Dr. Woody Snell,
Mike Hale, Dr. Joan Kvarnburg, and Jack Jobe.

Finally, I want to thank those who assisted in
recruiting students for this study. My appreciation
goes to Dr. Mike Miles, Dr. Norman McCloud, Dr.
Kathleen Bay, Eileen Holden, Dr. Jim Howell, and Joseph
Macy. Thanks are also extended to the students who
participated and contributed their time to this
project. The assistance provided by the staff from the
library media center was also very much appreciated.



IV



TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii

ABSTRACT vii

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION 1

Theoretical Framework 4

Statement of the Problem 13

Purpose of the Study 18

Need for the Study 2

Definition of Terms 22

Organization of the Study 2 3

II TEST ANXIETY AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE 2 5

Effective Treatments for Test Anxiety

and Academic Performance 31

Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques 34

Study Skills Models 39

Self -Directed Techniques 42

Mathematics and Test Anxiety 45

III METHODOLOGY 47

Population 48

Sample 48

Independent Variable 49

Procedures 51

Instrumentation 54

Academic Achievement 56

Treatment 57

Design and Data Analysis 59

Limitations of the Study 62



IV RESULTS 63

Analyses 63

Summary 7

V SUMMARY, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS &

RECOMMENDATIONS 72

Summary 72

Discussion 75

Implications and Recommendations 80

APPENDICES 83

A PERMISSION LETTER 83

B FLYER FOR RECRUITMENT OF STUDENTS 84

C SCREENING QUESTIONS FOR TEST ANXIETY 85

D EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT GROUP I 86

E EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT GROUP II 88

F EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT GROUP III 90

G INFORMED CONSENT FORM 92

H DEMOGRAPHIC DATA SHEET 93

I FEEDBACK SHEET-TAPES 94

J SIGN IN SHEET 95

REFERENCES 96

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 108



Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School

of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



THREE INDIVIDUALIZED TREATMENTS

FOR TEST ANXIETY AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

AMONG COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS

By

Carolyn Sue Poe

August 1992

Chairperson: Dr. P. Joseph Wittmer
Major Department: Counselor Education

Three anxiety reduction treatments and a controlled group

were compared on the anxiety and achievement levels of

community college students. Treatment Group I students

received cognitive-behavioral training and listened to audio

tapes based on an interference model and a behavioral

relaxation model. Treatment Group II students received a

behavioral imagery approach with relaxation. Treatment

Group III students received study skills and relaxation

tapes. Treatment Group IV served as a control group and

received no structured treatment until the end of the study.

The results of covariate analyses revealed a significant

difference between the control group and the three treatment

groups for total anxiety, worry anxiety, and emotional

anxiety. Mathematics and grade point averages were

vii



significantly higher for the cognitive behavioral and
imagery relaxation treatment groups compared with the
control group. The viability of a self-help approach for
test anxiety via audiotaped treatment was suggested by these
results. The cognitive behavioral treatment was effective
for reducing anxiety, improving mathematics achievement
scores, and increasing GPA. Imagery with relaxation
treatment reduced anxiety and improved mathematics scores.
Study skills with relaxation only reduced anxiety. Use of
cognitive behavioral audio-taped treatment offered as a
preventive tool for test anxious students was suggested by
these results. Future studies need to focus on prevention
strategies with possible diagnostic screening administered
across various populations.



CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION



College students indicate strongly that worry,
stress, and anxieties have a debilitating impact upon
their lives (Jones, 1987) . Two major stressors
perceived by college students in a 1986 study were
course examinations and meeting class assignments
(Shirom, 1986) . These stressors, particularly test
anxiety, are problems that students have to deal with
effectively as part of their on-going educational
process. A number of authors have found a negative
correlation between test anxiety and student
performance (Zimpfer, 1986) . For example, in one study
29% of students with high test anxiety failed to meet a
grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 during their first
semester of college work as compared with 7% with low
test anxiety (Culler & Holahan, 1980) .

Research suggests there are cognitive, affective,
and physiological components of test anxiety that are
interrelated and that negatively affect test
performance (Sandor, 1984) . The literature also
indicates that students offered positive strategies

1



2
prior to test taking can improve their respective test
taking experience (Cohen, 1984) . Boutin and Tosi
(1983) modified irrational ideas and test anxiety
through rational stage directed hypnotherapy; Mitchell
and Ng (1972) reduced test anxiety and improved
academic performance with group counseling and behavior
therapy; and Melnick and Russell (1976) successfully
reduced test anxiety with systematic desensitization.
Smith and Nye (1989) reduced test anxiety with induced
affect as well as covert rehearsal. Both cognitive and
behavior approaches were effective for reducing
anxiety.

Moon Chang (1986) indicated that test anxiety is a
multi-dimensional problem reguiring a treatment program
to help reduce the emotional component of test anxiety
as well as teaching the proper skills to remediate such
deficiencies.

Smith (1987) , in a comparison of theoretical
models of test anxiety, indicated that interventions
needed to target specific cognitive-attentional
processes, academic skills, and motivation rather than
global test anxiety reduction in order to improve
academic performance. According to Smith (19 87) ,



3
treatments directed only at the emotional component of
test anxiety are usually insufficient to lead to
performance gains. His research highlighted the
importance of a multi-dimensional treatment approach to
include cognitive attentional processes, negative
thinking, and self-efficacy in performance outcomes.

Sapp (1988) evaluated the effects of three
treatments for test anxiety: auto-suggestion combined
with study skills, relaxation therapy combined with
study skills, and nondirective therapy. For
undergraduates, all treatments were effective in
reducing test anxiety and improving academic
performance in comparison to a control group.

Treatment approaches that address the cognitive-
attentional, emotional, and skill factors of test
anxiety (TA) appear to lead to performance gains as
well as alleviating the anxiety (Arnette & Carter,
1975; Fillmer & Parkay, 1985; Holloway & Donald, 1982;
Matthew & Quinn, 1987; Payne & Friedman, 1986).

Thus, literature supports a combined treatment
approach to TA with implications for a more
individualized approach. With the abundance of
choices, students may find it confusing to know which



4
combination of treatments is most effective for
reducing TA as well as improving achievement.
Treatment approaches needed to be further explored.
This investigator compared the effects of three
different treatments on test anxiety delivered in an
individualized format. The treatments were delivered
on audio-cassette tapes and included (a) a cognitive-
attentional model with a relaxation component, (b) an
imagery model with a relaxation component, (c) and a
study skills model with a relaxation component.
Theoretical Framework

Three different theoretical approaches to TA seem
pertinent to this study. They are (a) a cognitive-
behavioral model of test anxiety based on Sarason's
(1980) cognitive interference model, (b) Lang's (1977)
behavioral imagery model, and (c) an information
processing model developed by Naveh-Benjamin,
McKeachie, Lin, and Holinger (1981) . Each of these
three approaches was combined with Benson's (1975)
relaxation component.

Sarason's theory explains the etiology of test
anxiety as a personality characteristic that develops
as a result of parents' unrealistically high



5
expectations of their children. This results in
negative parental judgment of the child's performance,
producing hostile and guilt feelings in the child and
the development of dependence upon the adult in
evaluative situations. High-anxious children seem to
experience attentional blocks, extreme concern over
autonomic and emotional self -cues, and cognitive
deficits such as misinterpretation of information

(Sarason, 1978; Wine, 1971) . The high-anxious child's
attentional and cognitive deficits are likely to
interfere with both learning and responding in
evaluative situations and result in lowered
performance.

It is the cognitive factors that influence the
perception of a situation as evaluative or not

(Sarason, 1978) . The cognitive activities considered
important in TA are conceptualized as attentional

(Sarason 1972, 1975, 1978; Wine, 1971). Sarason
focused on selective attention deficits that related to
searching the environment for cues. Hence, a
theoretical emphasis on selective attention deficits in
high-anxious individuals was a major concern.



6
According to attentional theory, it should be
possible to negate the deleterious effects of test
anxiety by helping the individual to focus attention
more directly on task (Dusek, Mergler, & Kermis, 1975,
1976; Sarason, 1972; Wine, 1971). Because high-anxious
students have a poorer history of success in school and
other evaluative situations and have experienced more
punitive interactions with evaluative adults, they
develop problem-solving strategies with a higher motive
to avoid failure and criticism than to approach
success. High-anxious students, then, are prone to
developing a high dependence on adults for evaluation
of their performance and for direction in problem
solving.

In summarizing Sarason 's test anxiety theory based
on a cognitive interference model, there is the
assumption that anxiety during testing interferes with
the ability to retrieve and use previously learned
information due to the focus on negative internal
thoughts (Sarason, 1980) . These thoughts relate back
to previous negative parental evaluation of the child's
performance. Anxiety needs to be reduced by helping
the individual to focus on the task at hand instead of
negative self thoughts.



7
This theory of test anxiety resulting from a
developmental history of success and failure
experiences in evaluative situations assumes that a
high-anxious student's history of failure leads him or
her to rely on external supports in evaluative
situations. When these supports are lacking, the high-
anxious student suffers cognitive and attentional
deficits that result in poorer task performance.

According to cognitive attentional theory, in
order to negate the effects of test anxiety, treatment
strategies should help the individual focus attention
more directly on task (Sarason, 1972) . Providing task-
oriented instructions, positive cues about expected
performance, task models, and memory supports were all
suggested to facilitate the performance of high test
anxious individuals in evaluative situations (Sarason,
1978) .

Since evidence supported a cognitive-behavioral
approach as more effective than cognitive therapy alone
for reducing TA as well as improving performance, the
researcher used a cognitive-behavioral approach for one
of the treatments in this study.



The second theoretical approach to TA was based on
a behavioral imagery model from Lang's theory of
emotional imagery (Lang, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983). Lang
investigated imagery in a framework of propositional
phrases of information (Anderson & Bower, 1973;
Pylyshyn, 1973) .

According to Lang's view, all information,
including imagery, is coded in a format of
propositions. These propositions are descriptions,
interpretations, and assertions about relationships
and are considered a preparatory set to respond
(Lang, 1977).

In treatment, the images and the verbal
propositions presented by the therapist are designed to
evoke emotions in the client. This evoked emotional
imagery is at the center of Lang's theory. According
to Lang, the aim of therapy is the reorganization of
the image unit in a way that modifies the affective or
emotional response. When treating fear, the theory
suggests that reduction of fear depends on generating
relevant affective feelings, which can be modified into
a more adaptable form (Lang, 1979) .



9

Lang outlined the emotional processing of imagery
within his own three-systems theory of fear (Lang,
1978) . According to his theory, fear is expressed and
can be measured through three behavioral systems;
verbal, overt behavioral, and psychophysiological.

In the typical imagery treatment situation, the
verbal and physiological domains dominate. Those who
are willing and able to produce the affective responses
will benefit from repeated exposure to images linked to
emotionally charged material.

Lang found consistent relationships between
physiological responses to imagery and emotional
behavior change. The next step was to establish how
these physiological changes were accomplished through
images. Lang distinguished between stimulus and
response propositions. Stimulus propositions were
descriptions about external stimuli, for example, a
final examination. Response propositions were
statements about the subject's own behavior such as
your heart is beating rapidly.

Lang suggested that physiological changes
necessary for fear reduction through emotional
processing with imagery, required both stimulus and



10
response propositions. Szollos (1984) successfully
reduced TA using Lang's evoked imagery treatment. The
researcher created affective imagery material combined
with relaxation for one of the treatments in the
present study. This treatment based upon Lang's
behavioral imagery model was created using stimulus and
response scripts. These scripts were designed to
elicit emotional reactions in order to reduce fear.

A third approach for addressing the needs of TA
students was an information-processing model developed
by Naveh-Benjamin, McKeachie, Lin, and Holinger (1981) .
According to this theory, high test-anxious students
had good reason to be anxious since they had less
ability and inferior study skills. The reason for a
large part of their lower academic performance was due
to less knowledge of the relevant material as a result
of inadequate study skills.

According to this model, information is processed
in stages, first, encoded, then stored and organized,
and finally retrieved. High TA students tend to encode
information more superficially and have more problems
organizing information than low TA students.



11

It appears there may be a causal sequence in which
ability lower than one's peers may lead to anxiety
regarding personal performance. This anxiety results
in less effective study habits, less effective
information processing, and poorer test performance.
Implications for treatment suggested emphasis on the
understanding of material at a deeper level rather than
rote memorizing, as well as concentration on effective
reading skills. Since evidence suggested that study
skills were more effective for reducing TA when
combined with a relaxation component, one of the
treatments in the present study combined study skills
and relaxation.

A behavioral component was included with each of
the three treatments in the current study. The
behavioral component was based on a relaxation model
developed by Benson (1975) . Whitmore (1987) identified
anxiety as activation of physiological and emotional
processes which accompany a stress response. Test
anxiety appears to include a stress response and
techniques that decrease the stress response may also
be expected to decrease anxiety. A behavioral
technique that reduces stress is relaxation. A



12

relaxation response must, according to Benson (1975) ,
include four components: a passive mental attitude, a
quiet environment, a comfortable position, and a mental
device on which to focus. Reduction in TA can occur
through decreasing the nervous and hormonal components
of the stress response by engaging in relaxation
exercises (Topp, 1988) .

The reduction of tension from stress is based on
the theory that internal emotional arousal is related
to skeletal muscular tension. Reducing muscular
tension therefore leads to control over the emotional
arousal system. Release of tension also occurs after a
catharsis of emotions.

Skeletal muscular behavioral relaxation does not
employ a cognitive strategy, nor is it designed to
focus attention, improve cognitive performance, or
evoke an emotional catharsis (Donnelly, 1988) .
Approaches that combined relaxation with other
cognitive, attentional, or behavioral techniques were
found to be more effective than any strategy alone
(Dondato & Diener, 1986; Donnelly, 1988). Therefore, a
relaxation component was combined with each of the
three treatments in this study.



13
There were several implications that followed from
the theoretical approaches previously reviewed. Data
were necessary to investigate the cognitive,
behavioral, and skill deficit processes in combinations
that would identify their relative importance.
Designing combined treatments in an individualized
program further contributes to a more prescriptive
approach to test anxiety.

Statement of the Problem

Institutions of higher education offer support
services such as study skills workshops, orientation
courses, and tutoring in an effort to lower the college
dropout rate (Lenning, 1980; Pascorella, 1981) .
Moreover, students reported the need and the desire for
these support services (Kay, 1984; Weissberg, 1982).
More importantly, a research report on college
attrition (Attrition, 1989) found that students using
such support services experience greater success than
those who do not. Also, college students who under-
utilize the support services of the campus counseling
centers are less likely to graduate (Friedlander ,
1980) . In college counseling centers, no-show rates



14
after one counseling session are between 2 0%-2 5%
according to Epperson, Bushway, & Warman (1983) .
Attrition for many others occurs after only a few
sessions (Phillips & DePalma, 1983). Thirty percent of
the students attended four or more sessions in a study
using different counselors and various student problems
(Payne & Friedman, 1986) . It is likely there are many
test-anxious students who never seek even one session
of counseling.

Some of the reasons cited for premature attrition
rates included, length of wait for services, students'
lack of belief that talking to someone could be
helpful, and counselor variables such as gender and
experience level (Mennicke, Lent, & Burgoyne, 1988) .
Even when support services were available, students
often preferred seeking help from informal sources
(Knapp & Karabenick, 1988) .

The problem has been that college students with
anxiety problems have needed a treatment for reducing
test anxiety that was convenient to use and
individualized to their needs (Mennicke, Lent, &
Burgoyne, 1988) . It was clear that many students'
needs were not being met through traditional channels.



15
The challenge was to design a successful program that
offered a treatment approach to meet the needs of a
greater number of test anxious students (Knapp &
Karabenick, 1988) .

Combined treatment approaches for test anxiety
have had impressive results. For example, combined
treatments in seven studies (Altmaier & Woodward, 1981;
Dendato & Diner, 1986; Harris & Johnson, 1980; Katahn,
Strenger & Cherry, 1966; Lent & Russell, 1978; McManus,
1971; Mitchell & Ng, 1972) resulted in significant
improvement for test-anxious students. Three
combinations with positive outcomes were (a) a
behavioral and cognitive approach combined with study
skills training; (b) a behavioral and cognitive
approach combined with group counseling; and (c) a
behavioral approach combined with group counseling and
study skills training (Zimpfer, 1986) . Study skills
training that included a relaxation component was also
effective for reducing TA as well as improving
performance on tests (Sapp, 1988) . Study skills
training combined with TA reduction appeared to be
important for long term changes as well (Anastasi,
1988) .



16
Research suggested that combined or multimodal
treatment programs provided the best results;
therefore, it seemed important to design a treatment
that would address behavioral (emotional) , cognitive
(worry) , and skill deficit components of TA within a
complete program (Sapp, 1988) .

Combination approaches for treating TA preclude
definite statements about differential effects. It
seemed clear, however, that single method treatments
ignored the performance features of test anxiety.
Thus, this investigator compared a cognitive-
attentional model combined with relaxation (Group 1) ,
an imagery model combined with relaxation (Group 2) , a
study skills model combined with relaxation (Group 3) ,
and a delayed treatment control group (Group 4) .

The rationale for the selection of treatments in
the present study was based on the literature review,
and particularly Hembree's (1988) review of 562 studies
indicating that test anxiety was a behavioral construct
that caused poor performance. All of the behavioral
treatments in Hembree's review resulted in the
reduction of emotionality as well as a reduction of the
worry component in test anxiety. College students



17
treated individually with taped behavioral procedures
had significantly lower TA scores than the untreated
students. Relaxation training and cognitive-behavioral
treatments were significant for reducing both the worry
and emotionality aspects of TA. Study skills treatment
was only effective for TA reduction when combined with
other treatment styles.

Hembree found a significant improvement in test
performance using systematic desensitization, as well
as when relaxation training was implemented. Cognitive
behavioral treatments, and study skills combined with
other styles, produced significant positive outcomes
for GPA. The results of the literature review
influenced the selection of treatments in this study,
to include combinations that would be most effective
for anxiety reduction, as well as for improved
performance.

All three treatment groups in the present study
received their material by listening to audio-cassette
tapes. Audio-tapes have been used effectively in a
number of studies in educational settings. Matthew and
Quinn (1987) used audio-tapes for relaxation training;
Carter and Synolds (1974) significantly improved



18
handwriting with tapes; Fillmer, Nest, and Scott (1983)
significantly improved vocabulary and comprehension
scores with hypnosis tapes, and Guidry and Randolph
(1974) successfully used audio-tapes in the treatment
of test anxiety.

Dependent variables in this study included a
standardized measure of test anxiety, the Test Anxiety
Inventory, and two measures of academic achievement,
grade point averages (GPA) , and a mathematics
achievement test adapted from the Wide Range
Achievement Test-Revised.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to compare three
combined treatments on the anxiety and achievement
levels of community college students. Each treatment
represented three different theoretical approaches to
test anxiety. Treatment Group I students received
cognitive-behavioral training and listened to audio-
tapes based on an interference model as developed by
Sarason (1980) and a behavioral relaxation model by
Benson (1975) .



19
Treatment Group II students received a behavioral
imagery approach with tapes created through Lang's
(1971) theory of imagery and Benson's (1975) theory of
relaxation.

Treatment Group III students received study skills
and relaxation tapes based on the skills deficit model
as presented by Naveh-Benjamin et al. (1981) , and
Benson's (1975) relaxation model.

Treatment Group IV served as a control group and
received no structured treatment until the end of the
study. More specifically, the investigator attempted
to answer the following questions:

1. Will the treatment and control groups differ
on measures for test anxiety and academic
achievement following treatment?

2. Will those students receiving a cognitive
approach and those receiving a imagery
approach differ on measures of test anxiety
and academic achievement?

3. Will those students receiving a cognitive
approach and those receiving study skills
differ on measures for test anxiety and
academic achievement?

4. Will those students receiving an imagery
approach and those receiving study skills
differ on measures for test anxiety and
academic achievement?



20
Need for the Study

Suicide among young people has increased
significantly over the past 25 years and is now the
second leading cause of death among our youth (Maris,
1986) . Maris (1986) concluded there are multiple
factors involved in the increased rate of youth suicide
including substance abuse, family and personal
problems, pressures related to unemployment, and school
achievement demands.

In one survey the perceived causes and
interventions for students at risk for suicide were
reviewed. School related problems accounted for 38% of
the relative contribution of 10 factors (Nelson,
Farberow, & Litman, 1988) .

In another study, researchers examined suicidal
ideation in college students. Seventy-four percent had
some suicidal ideation during midterm stress and 4 0%
had ideation that could be considered serious (Bonner &
Rich, 1988) .

Students with test anxiety need proven technigues
that allow them to adjust to their individual
differences and perform at their maximum ability
(Matthews & Quinn, 1987) . Calmer, less anxious



21
students demonstrate higher levels of achievement as
evidenced by various treatment approaches. These
approaches have resulted in a consistent decrease in
the students' levels of test anxiety and an increase in
their academic averages (Culler & Holahan, 1980;
Filmer, Nist, & Scott, 1983; and Hudesman, Loveday, &
Woods, 1984).

When students were asked to give the reasons they
sought psychotherapy, anxiety and fears represented 35%
of the responses (Niemi, 1988) . According to Weissberg
(1982), students reported the need to develop more
effective study habits, time management and writing
skills, as well as techniques to reduce their test
anxiety .

The potential benefits of incorporating effective
anxiety reducing procedures into the college counseling
centers would result in a greater number of students
having access to them (Hiebert & Eby, 1985) .
Individualized treatments could be offered as part of
the curriculum and incorporated as preventive
approaches for students at high risk for failing. The
combined treatments in this study were designed with
the aim of contributing to a more prescriptive approach



22
for specific problems. A variety of interventions
provides students more choices. Evidence revealed that
improved test performance and higher grade point
averages consistently accompany test anxiety reduction
(Hembree, 1988) . Therefore, The results of this study
may contribute to the number of students who remain in
college, improve their grades, and graduate.

Test anxiety can be reduced by a variety of
behavioral and cognitive treatments. If these
techniques are delivered in the traditional manner via
the formal, institutional support services,
approximately 8 0% of the students needing such
treatment will not seek help (Knapp & Karabenick,
1988) . Since audio-taped treatments have been shown to
be effective in lowering anxiety and improving academic
achievement, such treatment has the potential to reach
more students and may appeal to students who would not
otherwise seek help from the more formal services
offered in college counseling centers.

Definition of Terms

Imagery is the process of forming mental pictures,
and the imaginative products of that process.



23
Relaxation , according to Benson (1976) , has four
components: a comfortable position in a quiet
environment, with the individual adopting a passive
attitude while focusing on a mental device.

Study skills are student behaviors during
meaningful learning that are intended to improve the
encoding, acquisition, retention, and retrieval of new
knowledge.

Test anxiety is an unpleasant feeling or emotional
state that involves physiological, behavioral, and
cognitive components experienced in a formal testing or
other evaluative situation (Dusek, 1980) .

Organization of the Study

This study has four additional chapters. Chapter

II includes the major areas of literature review: (a)
test anxiety and how it relates to academic
performance, and (b) effective treatments for test
anxiety and academic performance. Treatments include
(a) cognitive and behavioral techniques, (b) study
skills models, and (c) self -directed techniques.

The research methodology is described in Chapter

III including the population, sample, hypotheses,



24
procedures, treatments, instruments, design of the
study, data analysis, and limitations of the study.
Chapter IV includes the results of the study with a
discussion of the results. Chapter V contains a
summary, implications, and recommendations for further
study.



CHAPTER II
TEST ANXIETY AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

Researchers have examined various models of test
anxiety to account for the debilitating effects of test
anxiety on cognitive task performance.

Tobias (1985) reviewed the differences between two
models accounting for the poor performance of highly
anxious students. The interference model was examined
stating that anxiety interfered with students' ability
to retrieve what was learned. The skills deficit model
speculated that inadeguate preparation or poor
test-taking skills accounted for reduced performance.
It was concluded that these were complementary rather
than mutually exclusive formulations.

Tobias reasoned that test anxiety debilitated
performance by reducing the cognitive capacity
available for task solution. Study or test-taking
skills facilitated learning and test performance by
reducing the cognitive capacity demanded by different
tasks. Tobias concluded that both TA and lack of study
skills contributed to decreased performance. That is,
high TA increased the demand on cognitive capacity, and

25



26
effective study skills reduced the capacity required by
tasks.

Paulman and Kennelly (1984) provided support for
the cognitive capacity model. Their findings on two
tasks indicated that as processing demands increased,
anxiety became more debilitating. Their results
indicated that test anxiety is associated with an
impairment in information-processing capacity that is
independent of both ability and examination-taking
skill.

Paulman and Kennelly (1984) suggested that
tailoring treatment programs to improve students' TA
scores as well as improving their study skills would be
more effective in reducing anxiety and increasing
cognitive performance than programs aimed only at
reducing TA.

Another model, an information processing model,
was explained as a performance deficit in high test
anxious students as a result of problems in encoding
and organizing information, and retrieving this
information during testing (Naveh-Benjamin, McKeachie,
Lin, & Holinger, 1981) . Results of the information
processing study on high, medium, and low TA students



27
revealed that high TA students (a) do poorly on take
home examinations that do not emphasize retrieval, (b)
have problems learning material throughout their
courses, (c) have difficulty selecting important points
during reading assignments, and (d) encode information
at a more superficial level.

The results from the information processing model
imply that the worry reported by TA students may be due
to their inadeguate knowledge of the subject matter.
Therefore, students should be given learning strategies
as well as anxiety coping technigues in a test
situation. According to the information processing
model, students need help with encoding and organizing
information, a deeper level of processing material, and
concentration on developing more effective reading
skills (Naveh-Benjamin, McKeachie, Lin, & Holinger,
1981) .

Results from a more general information processing
model also indicated that treatment of TA alone was
less effective than treatment that also involved
training in study skills. Naveh-Benjamin, McKeachie,
and Lin (1987) differentiated two types of test-anxious
students, supporting the information processing model.



28
One type of highly test-anxious student had good study
habits, no problems in encoding and organizing
information, but had a major problem in retrieval for a
test. A second type of test anxious student included
those with poor study habits who had problems in all
stages of processing. Their results supported a
differentiation between different types of students
when planning treatment strategies.

Huns ley (1985) examined the impact of TA on
academic performance and concluded that test anxious
students obtained lower examination grades than nontest
anxious students and experienced most doubt and concern
early in the term.

In a study of the interactive effects of TA, test
difficulty and feedback, it was found that highly
anxious students did poorly on their tests whether they
were easy or difficult. Moderately anxious students
performed better on easy tests, and immediate feedback
improved performance for all students (Rocklin &
Thompson, 1985) .

Zimpfer (1986) reviewed the literature on TA from
2 years of research studies and concluded that
combined treatment approaches must be used for



29
test-anxious students. Three combinations that were
successful were revealed in the literature, (a) a
behavioral and cognitive approach combined with study
skills training, (b) a behavioral and cognitive
approach combined with group counseling, and (c) a
behavioral approach combined with group counseling and
study skills training. The results of these three
treatments were all positive for reducing test anxiety
and improving academic performance.

Combined approaches that centered on goals,
habits, attitudes, and on development of study skills
made a significant contribution to improved academic
performance. When used in combination with cognitive
and behavioral methods these factors were even more
effective for TA and performance (Zimpfer, 1986) .

In a study examining the interaction between test
anxiety and skill deficits, it was reported that worry
and prior academic achievement contributed to
performance and these effects differed across tests
(Everson, Millsap, & Browne, 1987) . Dependent
variables included minimum competency tests for reading
and mathematics, and a self -report measure of test
anxiety, the Test Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger ,
1980) .



30
Horn and Dollinger (1989) studied sleep deficit
and performance among school age children and found a
relationship between highly test-anxious students and
classroom performance. Specifically, the higher the
test anxiety level, the worse students performed on
examinations. They also found no relationship between
test anxiety and sleep complaints or sleep deficits.

Three theoretical models were compared to explain
the academic performance and test anxiety of 178
undergraduates (Smith, Arnkoff , & Wright, 1990) .
Cognitive-attentional processes were more important
than academic skills or social learning processes.
Multimodal counseling that included cognitive skills
and social learning processes was suggested.

Covington and Omelich (1988) examined the
cognitive, motivational, and affective relationships to
school achievement for 312 undergraduates. Their data
confirmed that trait-like factors, whether reflecting
cognitive ability, arousal constructs, or interfering
emotions, controlled achievement. These factors were
indirectly influential, limiting the earlier view of a
static, input-output model between individual
variations in test anxiety and test performance.



31



Effective Treatments For Test Anxiety
And Academic Performance



Jones (1987) used a multimodal orientation program
to reduce TA that included techniques for stress
reduction, self-help breathing, muscle relaxation, and
creative visualization. The Test Anxiety Inventory
results indicated significantly lower worry and
emotionality levels than those who did not participate
in the program.

Hembree (1988) reviewed the results of 562 studies
and, through meta-analysis, was able to show the nature
and effects of TA as well as effective treatments. His
findings revealed that test anxiety caused poor
performance indicating that test anxiety is a
behavioral construct. Conditions creating differential
TA levels included ability, gender, and grade level.
Hembree also stated that students with improved test
performance had a higher GPA and this consistently
accompanied TA reduction.

Some of the results of Hembree 's analysis revealed
that TA was higher for average students than for those
with high ability. Females consistently showed higher
levels of TA than males. Test anxiety stabilized



32
around grade 5, remained constant through high school,
and had a small decline in college.

Behavioral treatment for TA in Hembree's review
included systematic desensitization (SD) , relaxation
training, modeling, positive reinforcement, extinction,
and hypnosis. College students treated with SD using
an audio-taped procedure had significantly lower TA
scores. All of the behavioral treatments resulted in
TA reduction, and that included both emotionality as
well as the worry component.

Cognitive-behavioral treatments also reduced both
components of anxiety. Treatments using study skills
training alone were not found to be effective in TA
reduction.

Another behavioral treatment that has been
successful in reducing TA and improving performance has
been hypnosis. Stanton (1988) was able to improve
examination performance through the use of a clenched
fist technique. This rather simple technique used both
with and without hypnotic suggestions was successful in
increasing examination scores in eight academic subject
areas.



33



South (1987) used Ericksonian hypnosis in the
treatment of mathematics TA and found a significant
reduction in overall mathematics TA. One session was
given to each student enrolled in an undergraduate
mathematics class. Treatment was evaluated with the
Test Anxiety Inventory and the State-Trait Anxiety
Inventory. A study skills counseling group and a no
treatment control group had no significant change in
anxiety.

Russo (1984) suggested looking at test anxiety
through a multimodal behavior therapy model . His model
used various classroom interventions to reduce test
anxiety such as positive task imagery, cognitive
modification, memory supports, study skills counseling,
relaxation exercises and peer support. Russo contended
that TA was a combination of skill deficits, emotional
reactivity, and negative self -attributions. He
believed that the educator who used an approach
combining those modalities would successfully reduce
test and performance anxiety.



34
Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques

In a recent study, the roles of the teacher and
counselor were outlined to assist students with TA.
Learning approaches that were suggested to reduce T.A.
included role-playing, self -talk, relaxation
techniques, checklists, discussions with peers, and a
team approach (Wilkerson, 1990) .

Crowley, Crowley, and Clodfelter (1986) examined
the effects of a self-coping cognitive treatment for
TA. They presented material consisting of practice in
changing anxious self -talk to task-directed self -talk,
separating truth from exaggeration, and using rational
thinking rather than irrational thinking. They also
taught students to develop task related coping
behavior, including imagery.

This self-coping cognitive treatment was effective
for university students when the material was presented
in a one day workshop. It was also effective when
presented over a three week period in three two hour
sessions. Under both treatment conditions TA and
performance were significantly improved. Dependent
measures included the Achievement Anxiety Test (Alpert



35
& Haber, 1960) , the Test Attitude Inventory

(Spielberger , 1980) and the Wonderlic Personnel Test

(Wonderlic, 1978) .

Bagoon (1988) designed a cognitive behavioral
treatment intervention based on the Meichenbaum and
Butler (1980) model for treating TA. Four model
components were assessed: cognitive structures,
internal dialogues, behavioral acts, and behavioral
outcomes. Results from a TA inventory and a final
examination suggested that treatments that improved
attitudes toward tests, reduced negative thoughts, and
decreased subjective anxiety during tests should reduce
TA. According to Bagoon, reducing negative thoughts
and increasing positive ones, along with the use of
previous examinations as learning tools, should also
improve test performance.

Mason (1988) investigated the effectiveness of a
cognitive behavioral stress inoculation package based
on Meichenbaum and Butler's feedback loop model of test
anxiety. Dependent variables included a test anxiety
scale, a study habits scale, and academic test scores.
Fifty-four psychology students were randomly assigned
to the treatment and waiting list control group. The



36
treatment group was exposed to a multi-component
package consisting of cognitive restructuring,
self-instructional training, relaxation training, study
skills training, and test-taking skills training.

After eight sessions over a four week period, the
results indicated that the gains for the treatment
group were significant on all three variables: test
anxiety, study skills, and academic test performance.
This study offered additional support for multi-
component treatments for TA.

In another behavioral study, 48 test-anxious
students were randomly assigned to three treatment
conditions: (a) group one imagined a series of images
reflecting relaxation while interspersing a series of
items from a test anxiety hierarchy, (b) the second
group received instruction in systematic
desensitization, and (c) the third group listened to
recorded chamber music as they were instructed to think
about relaxing (Saigh and Antoun, 1984) . Each
treatment group also received three fifty minute study
skills training sessions in addition to their seven
fifty minute treatment sessions. The Suin Test Anxiety
Behavior Scale (Suin, 1971) , the State-Trait Anxiety



37
Inventory (Spielberger , Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1969) , and
GPA revealed significant differences for both treatment
groups compared to the control group. The combination
of imagery and study-skills training was as effective
as desensitization plus study-skills training for
reducing TA and facilitating achievement.

Matthews and Quinn (1987) found that relaxation
training for 10 minutes increased the typing
achievement of high school students significantly more
than did traditional training without relaxation. The
treatment component consisted of guided imagery that
included deep breathing. The students were given nine
different relaxation exercises, a new one for each week
of the program. They were able to increase both their
speed and accuracy in typing over those in a control
group .

Hudesman, Loveday, and Woods (1984) used a
behavior modification program to reduce test anxiety.
Ninety-seven self-referred community college students
were divided into experimental and control groups on
the basis of free time. The experimental group
attended six 50 minute sessions and listened to
audio-tapes. The tapes combined muscle relaxation with



38
a hierarchy of test anxiety items. After the
presentation of each item, students were instructed to
use the relaxation procedures. Results revealed a
reduction in debilitating anxiety as well as an
increase in GPA over the control group.

Decker (1987) evaluated the differential
effectiveness of several multi-component treatments in
a stress management program for academic
underachievers. Thirty university freshmen with
deficient grades were administered the Test Anxiety
Scale and assigned to one of two treatment groups that
differed only in order of presentation of treatments.
The treatment programs combined cognitive
restructuring, relaxation, time management, attention
control, test-taking, and study-skills training. No
differences were found due to order of presentation of
treatment components. Both treatment groups gained
significantly in follow up GPA averages compared with
the no-treatment control group.

Results of the studies using cognitive and
behavioral technigues in treating TA indicated that
multimodal treatment approaches were effective for
reducing TA and improving performance. Successful



39
outcomes for anxiety and performance included
behavioral treatments that decreased the emotional
component of TA, and cognitive interventions that
reversed negative thinking. When study skills were
combined with either a relaxation behavioral component,
or a cognitive technique, significant improvement was
also noted.

Study Skills Models

Cavallero and Meyers (1986) investigated the
effectiveness of two treatments in reducing test
anxiety in 67 female high school students with good or
poor study habits. One treatment focused on study
skills training with relaxation training, while the
second treatment emphasized cognitive restructuring
with relaxation training. Results indicated that
relaxation plus cognitive restructuring was effective
in reducing students' TA as measured by the Test
Anxiety Inventory. Study skills and relaxation were
not effective. Relaxation with cognitive
restructuring had a greater impact in reducing anxiety
for students with good study habits than those who had
poor study habits. In another investigation, study
skills, relaxation, concentration, and self-monitoring



40
were included in a group treatment for TA in secondary
school students. Scores from a state anxiety inventory
and a test anxiety inventory were compared with a
control group. Results indicated a decrease in anxiety
for the trained students compared with the controls in
a three month follow-up (Van-der Ploeg-Stapert &
Van-der-Ploeg, 1986) .

Zimpfer (1986) , in his review of interactive group
methods to treat TA, focused on group counseling,
study skills training, and cognitive-behavioral
approaches. His data revealed that despite the
potential of these approaches to reduce TA, they were
not as successful in improving academic achievement.
It was emphasized that treatment of TA with single
methods ignores the interaction between anxiety
responses and performance skills. As a result, Zimpfer
advocated the use of group counseling and study skills
training along with group-based cognitive-behavioral
interventions for the treatment of TA.

Annis (1986) conducted a study with 73 low
achieving college students. A group given a study
skills course resulted in significantly better study
habits and attitudes than a control group. The study



41
skills subjects also had significantly less
debilitating anxiety as compared with the controls.

Dendato and Diener (1986) determined whether study
skills training contributed to a treatment program that
included relaxation training and cognitive therapy.
Forty-five test anxious students were randomly assigned
to one of four treatment conditions, (a) relaxation-
cognitive therapy, (b) study skills training, (c) a
combination of relaxation-cognitive therapy and study
skills training, and (d) no treatment. State anxiety
and classroom examination performance measures were
collected pre- and posttreatment . Results revealed
that relaxation-cognitive therapy was effective in
reducing anxiety but failed to improve classroom test
scores. Study skills training had no significant
effect on either measure. The combined therapy of
relaxation-cognitive therapy and study skills both
reduced anxiety and improved performance relative to
the no-treatment control condition. Combined therapy
was significantly more effective than either of the
treatments alone. This study contributed to the
growing body of evidence favoring multimodal approaches
for the treatment of TA.



42
Fifteen academically unprepared, test anxious
students participated in an intervention consisting of
desensitization and peer-tutoring with study skills
training. All students reported a reduction in anxiety
immediately before actual classroom examinations as
assessed by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. An
eight week follow-up also revealed a significant
reduction in TA, (Lent, Lopex, & Romans, 1983) .

Results of the studies on skill deficits indicate
an association between deficits in academic skills and
lower academic performance. Deficits in study skills
are also implicated in TA, and appear to be
generalizable across different measures of both skills
and TA.

Self-Directed Techniques

Hiebert and Eby (1985) found that relaxation
training on audio-tapes significantly reduced state and
trait anxiety. Their program included a manual with
steps for relaxation training, procedures for
self-monitoring, a procedure for making an audio-
cassette recording as a training aid, and four sample
relaxation scripts. Students were also given a
professionally prepared relaxation tape with a



43
progressive relaxation script on one side and a
self -hypnosis script on the other. The program began
with one instructional class followed by a relaxation
session. All subsequent relaxation was done
individually with instructions to use the progressive
relaxation tape daily for two weeks, and then to listen
to the audio suggestive relaxation tape, or make a tape
of their own using one of the sample scripts.
Responses from the students were positive as they found
materials easy to understand, and reported personal
benefit from their involvement in the program.

Walsh (1985) conducted an experimental study with
12 freshmen students at a university. Students were
randomly assigned to a student development program or a
control group. The program was designed to allow
students to use self-assessment for their academic
interests and career choices, plan their own schedules,
make decisions, and become familiar with campus
resources. The program was a self-help approach using
directions from a manual. Dependent variables included
a satisfaction survey of students' college experiences,
GPA, and a self -concept scale. Results revealed that
students who had participated in the program were more



44
satisfied with their college experiences and performed
better academically than the control group. They did
not exhibit greater increases in self-concept than did
the students in the control group however.

Levi (1985) , designed a study using a self-help
technique to intervene in self -destructive behavior.
Two writing therapies were designed for test anxiety.
One identified test anxiety as a focal symptom and the
other was designed to increase self -awareness. Eight
journal writing therapy sessions were completed over a
two-week period. Results from an achievement anxiety
scale and a test anxiety scale revealed no differential
treatment effects between groups. Both groups improved
significantly in TA reduction.

Edelmann and Hardwick (1986) investigated the use
and effectiveness of self generated strategies for
coping with TA in 90 undergraduates. Use of
distraction and relaxation as methods of coping were
related to lower levels of TA, while catharsis and
social support were related to higher levels of TA. It
was also suggested that a student's perception of the
ability to cope could be more important than actually
reducing his or her anxiety.



45
Crowley, Crowley, and Clodfelter (1986) examined
the effects of a self-coping cognitive treatment for TA
delivered in a massed and a spaced format. Ninety
three university students were randomly assigned to a
workshop, a six-session treatment, or a control group.
Results from an anxiety test, a test attitude
inventory, and a personnel test revealed significant
improvements for both the workshop and the six-session
treatment over the control group.

Mathematics and Test Anxiety

Mathematics anxiety, test anxiety, physiological
arousal, and mathematics avoidance behavior were
examined in 63 undergraduates. The study demonstrated
that mathematics and test anxiety are related but not
identical. Mathematics anxiety had a modest relation
to mathematics performance and little relation to
physiological arousal. Physiological and avoidance
measures showed little relation to mathematics anxiety.
The authors concluded that interventions needed to do
more than reduce anxiety to improve students
mathematics performance. Remedial mathematics skills
presented in a low anxiety climate were suggested (Dew,
Galassi & Galassi, 1984) .



46
Test anxiety, mathematics anxiety, and teacher
feedback were examined among university students in a
remedial mathematics class (Green, 1990) . Findings
indicated that T.A. had a greater effect on mathematics
achievement than mathematics anxiety or teacher
comments. Also, free comments were superior than
specified comments and no comments in facilitating
student performance.

Some researchers differentiated mathematics test
anxiety from general test anxiety stating that
mathematics test anxiety included a reaction to content
as well as performance (Benson, 1989) . Test anxiety
was explored with 219 university students enrolled in a
statistics course. Results indicated that statistical
test anxiety was different from general T.A. Females
had higher general and statistical T.A. than males and
students who had high levels of general T.A. also
reported high levels of statistical T.A. (Benson,
1989) .



CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY



This study was designed to investigate the
effectiveness of three structured treatment approaches
with the intent of reducing test anxiety and improving
student achievement. An experimental pretest post-test
design was completed implementing three measures of
anxiety from the Test Anxiety Inventory; a measure of
test performance from the mathematics scores on the
Wide Range Achievement Test-R (Appendix A) ; and GPA.

Four groups were employed: a cognitive relaxation
group, an imagery relaxation group, a study skills and
relaxation group, and a delayed treatment
control group. The treatments for all groups were
delivered via structured scripts on audio-cassette
tapes.

This chapter includes the hypotheses, design of
the study, population, sample, procedures, treatments,
instruments, statistical analysis, and limitations of
the study .



47



48



Population

The students for this study were selected from
test anxious students attending a south Florida public
community college. The students expressed concern
about the effects of test anxiety on their achievement
and agreed to complete the research project involving
approximately eight hours of commitment during a four
week period. The selected students also had to meet
the initial screening criteria described below.

Sample

One hundred forty-six test anxious students
responded to advertisements and flyers (see Appendix C)
posted throughout the campus, as well as through
student referrals from professors and counselors on
campus. Following the initial screening, 100 students
were invited to meet with the researcher on campus for
an interview and orientation. The selected students
were then randomly assigned to the three treatments and
the control group. The initial screening reguirements
were as follows:



49

1. Eighteen years of age or older.

2 . Experienced four of seven symptoms of test anxiety
(see Appendix D) .

3. Had either already failed or feared failure in a
course.

4. Willingness to complete the testing and treatment,
and sign the consent form (see Appendix E) .

5. Not currently under a doctor's care for anxiety.

Forty-six students were rejected because they did
not meet the criteria. During the course of this
research, four students did not complete the study.

A total of 96 students completed the study.
Demographically, the sample students were comprised of
60 females and 3 6 males with ages ranging from 18 to
57. The representation of cultural groups included 16
African Americans, 2 6 Hispanics, 3 Native Americans, 2
Asians, and 49 White students.

Independent Variables

The treatments in this study involved three sets
of audio-taped scripts based on three different
approaches for the alleviation of test anxiety. There
was also a control group that did not receive a
structured treatment until the end of the study. These



50
treatment scripts were adapted from various
professional texts and journals and were developed by
the researcher. The strategies suggested in the
scripts were researched methods shown to be effective.
The first treatment, administered to students in
Treatment Group I, was a set of eight audio-taped
scripts with cognitive material based on Sarason's
(1980) model, and were combined with relaxation. The
scripts emphasized cognitive restructuring, focused
concentration, attention training, cues for positive
affirmations and independent problem solving (see
Appendix E) . The second set of eight audio-taped
treatment scripts were administered to Treatment Group
II. They were created from Lang's (1983) evoked
emotional imagery model, and were designed to elicit an
emotional response. An abundance of visual cues and
verbal descriptions were formulated in order to
discharge and process negative affective responses.
The second set of scripts were also combined with
relaxation (see Appendix F) . The third set of eight
audio-taped treatment scripts were administered to
Treatment Group III. They were comprised of techniques
for the improvement of study skills and learning



51

strategies. Efficiency of encoding, organization, and
retrieval of information were emphasized. Relaxation
was combined with study skills for the third set of
tapes (see Appendix G) . The behavioral relaxation
segment based on Benson's (197 5) relaxation model was a
constant for all three treatments. The first five
minutes of each audio-tape provided relaxation practice
and preceded the scripts for each audio-tape.

Procedures

Respondents to advertisements and referred
students were contacted by the researcher for an
initial screening by telephone. Those who met the
criteria for selection were given an overview of the
research study, and if interested, were scheduled for a
personal interview on campus.

The purpose of the first meeting between the
researcher and each subject was to obtain informed
written consent (see Appendix H) , collect screening and
history data (see Appendix I) , and to randomly assign
students to one of the four groups.

The W.R.A.T.-R mathematics test was administered
with directions that were designed to recreate



52

classroom test anxiety. Students reported that these

directions did evoke anxiety similar to their past

experiences during actual classroom examinations.

Instructions for the mathematics test were as follows:

This mathematics test will give an indication of
your ability in mathematics and could be used to
determine your need for additional courses in
mathematics. You have five (5) minutes to
complete as many problems as you can correctly,
and it is extremely important that you do your
best. Work only odd problems that are circled.

Immediately following the mathematics test, the

Test Anxiety Inventory was administered using the

standardized directions. The 25 control group students

were then informed they would be contacted to return in

four weeks to complete additional testing and were

excused. Procedures for students in the three

treatment groups were explained. They were

familiarized with the reserve section of the media

center where the treatment tapes would be checked out.

After an introduction to the staff in charge of the

media library, students were given a demonstration for

checking out tapes (see Appendix K) . Students in the

treatment groups were directed to listen to eight 50

minute tapes, follow directions, complete a feedback

sheet along with each tape and return them to the media



53
center staff (see Appendix J) . They were encouraged to
listen to a new tape twice each week for four weeks
until they finished all eight tapes. The sign-in
sheets, distribution of tapes, and feedback sheets were
all monitored by the community college staff and
retained by the researcher.

After four weeks of treatment, students were
contacted to meet with the researcher to complete post-
testing. Administration of the post-tests included the
same instructions that had been given at the
pretesting. The administration of the mathematics test
from the W.R.A.T.-R was preceded by the same directions
as given at the pretest to recreate classroom
examination anxiety. The only change in these
directions was the inclusion that this was a new test
with more difficult problems and they were to complete
the circled problems. The Test Anxiety Inventory was
administered immediately following the completion of
the mathematics test. Grade point averages were
officially collected for the term immediately preceding
the study and again at the end of the term of the
study. The control group students were pretested, and
then contacted four weeks later for post-testing. Near



54
the end of the semester, after GPA's were officially
collected, the students from the control group were
offered the treatment of their choice as a reward for
participation in the study.

Instrumentation
Test Anxiety

The instrument selected to measure TA in this
study was the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI) . This is a
self-report assessment instrument designed to measure
individual differences of test anxiety during test
situations. The items are designed to measure trait
anxiety. The TAI contains 2 items asking students to
indicate how frequently and how intensely they
experience TA before, during and following an
examination.

The TAI measures two major components of test
anxiety identified by Leibert and Morris (1967) . These
components are (a) worry and (b) emotionality. The
worry reactions have been found to contribute to
performance decrements of test anxious students on
cognitive tasks. The emotional reaction is a part of
the autonomic nervous system produced by evaluative
stress.



55

The normative data for the TAI included large
samples of community college students. The TAI was
designed for self-administration, is easy to
understand, and can be completed in approximately ten
minutes .

A test reliability coefficient for the TAI
administered to college students and retested after
three weeks was .80. The TAI correlates with Sarason's
(1978) Test Anxiety Scale (TAS) .82 for males and .83
for females. These are comparable to the coefficients
for each scale suggesting that the 2 item TAI total
scale and the 37-item TAS are essentially eguivalent
measures (Spielberger , 1980) .

The TAI also has been shown to have high
correlations with the Worry and Emotionality
Questionnaire (WEQ) (Liebert & Morris, 1967) . Worry
correlated .73, and emotionality correlated .77 for
males. Females, taking the TAI, had a worry
correlation of .69 and emotionality correlation of .85
with the WEQ.

The pattern of correlations of the TAI with the
TAS and the WEQ provides evidence of the concurrent and
construct validity of the TAI scales.



56
Academic Achievement

One measure of success for TA reduction has been
students' increased grade point averages (GPA) . A GPA
of 2.00 (on a scale of 0.00-4.00) is generally
considered the cut-off for success in college since it
has been a common requirement for graduation (Culler &
Holahan, 1980) at most institutions. A behavioral
measure for academic performance was obtained from each
student's GPA for the term immediately preceding the
study, and again at the end of the term during which
the investigation was conducted.

The second measure for achievement was the Wide
Range Achievement Test-R (arithmetic) . Manifestations
of an anxiety state include impairment of concentration
and attention. Because arithmetic has been identified
as a measure of concentration (Sattler, 1974) , a
student's erratic performance is suggestive of
temporary inefficiency in this area. Also, since
arithmetic is vulnerable to transient emotional states,
it has been reported that high anxiety groups show a
pattern of lower arithmetic scores (Sattler, 1974) .

The W.R.A.T.-R arithmetic test was administered
using odd and even computational problems to provide



57
two different forms for the pretest and the post-test
(see Appendix A) . Since the W.R.A.T.-R arithmetic
subtest was designed to contain a range of items
beginning with very easy problems to very difficult,
each group completed only the odd numbered problems
from the test protocol for the pretest, and the even
numbered problems for the post-test.

Treatment
Treatment Group I (Experimental Cognitive Relaxation)

An eight-session sequence of standardized
audio-taped material was provided to the 25 community
college students assigned to this group. They received
five minutes of relaxation training that included deep
breathing, muscle relaxation, and mental focusing at
the beginning of each new audio-tape.

The eight-session cognitive tapes contained
information and suggestions for focusing on task,
concentrating, developing positive self-talk, and
building confidence. The tapes also taught reframing
techniques and changing negative past thinking. Models
for effective performance such as rational thinking and
memory supports concluded the treatment for Treatment
Group I (see Appendix H for more details) .



58

Treatment Group II (Experimental Imagery And
Relaxation)

An eight-session sequence of standardized
audio-taped material was provided to 25 community
college students assigned to Treatment Group II. The
relaxation portion of each tape was the same as for
Treatment Group I, and included deep breathing, muscle
relaxation, and mental focusing.

The eight-session script evoked imagery through

scripts including a series of visual metaphors and

descriptors for anxiety and esteem, use of self

evaluation through imagery, and problem solving with

exploratory imaging. The additional script included

techniques for changing personal history with neutral

or positive imagery. Creative imagery for specific

problems, and integration of emotions with positive

imagery concluded the treatment for Group II (see

Appendix F for more details) .

Treatment Group III (Experimental Study Skills And
Relaxation)

An eight-session sequence of standardized audio-
taped material was provided to the 25 community college
students assigned to Treatment Group III. The
relaxation portion of each tape was the same as for
Treatment Groups I and II.



59
The eight-session script for the study skills
group included an introduction to study skills
including study behaviors, techniques for more
efficient coding and organizing, and techniques for
retrieval of information. The Question, Search, Run,
Read, Recite method of study (QS3R) , and effective note
taking were also included. Techniques for approaching
an examination, and getting more information from
lectures and reading were included. Approaching
different materials and learning styles concluded the
treatment for Treatment Group III (see Appendix J for
more details) .
Treatment Group IV (Delayed Control Group)

After assignment to Group IV, students were given
the pretest and asked to return after four weeks to
complete testing. Following post-testing, the control
group students were told they would be contacted later
with their results. At the end of the semester they
were offered the treatment of their choice as a reward
for their participation.

Design and Data Analysis

The design for this study is a randomized control-
group pretest-posttest design. Random assignment of
students to an experimental control group prior to the



60
pretest generally rules out any selection differences
between the groups.

Internal validity is well controlled with a
pretest posttest control group design. Mortality is
the only factor not controlled.

A one way analysis of covariance was used to
analyze the data. For each dependent variable, this
procedure was used to test for an interaction between
the treatments and the dependent variable measured at
the pretest occasion. For variables that did not
exhibit interactions, ANCOVA was used to test for mean
differences among the treatments. Pairwise comparisons
of treatments were conducted for dependent variables
that exhibited significant effects on means.

Grade point averages were collected for the term
immediately preceding the study and the term during
which the study was carried out. A separate one way
analysis of covariance was computed on the post
treatment GPA mean using the pre-treatment GPA mean as
a covariate.

The advantages of ANCOVA are the reduction of
experimental error and increased statistical power, by
the reduction of within group error variance. The



61



rationale for ANCOVA is to discover if one of the
treatments reduce anxiety and improve performance more
than the other. If the groups do not begin with the
same amount of anxiety or same mathematics level, the
posttest scores need to be adjusted to take into
account the initial differences between pretest means.
The five posttest variables were separately analyzed
using an ANCOVA design with the appropriate pretest as
a covariate in each analysis. The dependent variable
mean scores were adjusted to account for differences
between the groups on each of the covariate pretest
variables. The adjusted posttest means represented a
scientific guess as to how the treatment groups would
have performed on the posttest assuming they had
identical pretest means.

HOj: There is no interaction between the
treatments and the dependent variable measured at the
pretest occasion.

For each dependent variable for which Ho! is not
rejected the second hypothesis tested will be;

H0 2 : There is no effect of the treatment on the
mean dependent variable scores.



62
Limitations of the Study

The sample was limited to an accessible population
of community college students from a south Florida
community college who volunteered to participate in the
treatment. The generalizability of these results are
limited to populations of students who would self
select to participate in similar treatments.

Cumulative grade point averages are not as
sensitive to changes in performance increments as a
classroom examination. A final course exam may have
provided a more accurate measure of performance.

Another limitation was the inclusion of an
achievement test that had no actual bearing on their
final grades. Motivation to perform may have been
affected.

Other uncontrolled variables included some
students receiving tutoring services from the college
and student enrollment in mathematics classes during
the course of this study.



CHAPTER IV
RESULTS

Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed on
the posttest scores from the Test Anxiety Inventory,
(total anxiety, worry anxiety, and emotional anxiety) ;
mathematic problems from the Wide Range Achievement
Test; and GPA scores. Both models with interaction and
without interactions were employed in the analyses.

Analyses
Tests for Interactions

For each dependent variable ANCOVA was used to
test for a pretest x treatment interaction. The
results of the analyses indicated no significant
interactions (See Table 1) .

Table 1
Pretest x Treatment Interaction Tests for T.A. , W.A. , E.A.



Mathemat


ics


and


GPA














Variable


Interaction


Error


Hypoth. MS


Error


MS




F


E






DF




DF














TA




3




88


208.78


86.12




2


42


.071


WA




3




88


44.45


17.75




2


50


.064


EA




3




88


14.11


13.56




1


04


.378


MATH




3




88


16.99


7.46




2


28


.085


GPA




3




88


.34


.22




1


52


.215



63



64



Tests for Main Effects

Descriptive statistics for the pretests and posttests
are presented in Table 2 .

Table 2



Means and Standard Deviation of Experimental and Control
Groups



Group Mean S.D.

Cog. 58.3 12.38

Imag. 51.3 12.87

Study 51.6 12.16

Control 54.6 13.44



WA
Mean S.D.

23.8 5.19
21.4 6.07

20.9 4.87
22.1 5.45



Mean S.D.

23.7 6.00

21.1 4.93

20.3 5.62

22.6 5.82



Hath
Mean S.D.
22.6 3.60
23.1 4.03
23.6 4.38
21.8 3.02



GPA
Mean S.D.
1.86 0.84
1.78 0.73
1.70 0.84
2.24 0.60







IA




WA




EA




Math




GPA




Group


Mean




S.D.


Mean


S.D.


Mean


S.D.


Mean


S.D.


Mean


S.D.


Cog.


41.5




12.95


15.6


4.69


15.2


5.61


27.0


4.75


2.71


0.59


Imag.


38.8




12.56


15.2


4.73


14.3


4.21


27.0


3.97


2.40


0.58


Study


36.6




8.36


14.7


4.75


14.7


3.94


26.4


5.06


2.35


0.85


Control


54.2




12.65


21.3


4.88


22.8


5.17


21.8


3.87


2.32


0.55



65
ANCOVA was used to test for a treatment effect on each
dependent variable. The main effects tests for total
anxiety, worry anxiety, emotional anxiety, mathematics, and
GPA.

Table 3
Main Effect Tests for T.A., W.A., E.A., Mathematics and GPA



Variable


Treatment


Error


Hvcoth. MS


Error MS


F


E


TA


3


91


1281.68


90.17


14.21


.0001


UA


3


91


209.22


18.63


11.23


.0001


EA


3


91


338.13


13.57


24.90


.0001


MATH


3


91


60.74


7.77


7.81


.0001


GPA


3


91


1.44


.22


6.27


.0001


Multiple


Comparisons











The ANCOVAs led to the rejection of the null
hypothesis that there were no differences among the
treatment groups for each dependent variable. This
statistical technique compared four means; therefore,
for a meaningful interpretation of the data a
comparison of all combinations of pairs of means was
required. Multiple comparisons were completed by using
the Bonferroni method. For each dependent variable,
there were six comparisons, k(k-l)/2, where k equals
the number of groups .



66

Multiple Comparisons

The analyses of covariance revealed that there
were significant differences among the four group
means. Therefore, Bonferroni Multiple Comparisons were
completed. The first comparisons for Total Test
Anxiety are given in Table 4. There was a significant
difference between Control Group IV and each of the
other three treatment groups (Group I, II and III) when
investigating the dependent variable "Total Anxiety."







Table 4




Comparisons


Of


Pairs of Means of Treatment Groups




Dependent


Variable-Total Anxietv




Ad -justed
Mean




Comparison Group
Group I II III


IV


39.6




I NS NS


S


40.4




II NS


S


38.1




III


S


53.9




IV





S - Significant NS - Not Significant



67



Multiple comparisons for worry anxiety are given
in Table 5. There was a significant difference between
Control Group IV and each of the other three treatment
groups (Group I, II and III) when investigating the
dependent variable "Worry Anxiety."

Table 5



Comparisons of Pairs of Means of Treatment Groups Dependent
Variable-Worry Anxiety



Adjusted Comparison



Mean


Group


15.2


I


15.5


II


15.3


III


21.2


IV



Group
II III



NS



NS
NS



IV

S
S
S



S - Significant



NS - Not Significant



68



Multiple comparisons for emotional anxiety are
given in Table 6. There was a significant difference
between Control Group IV and each of the other three
treatment groups (Group I, II and III) when
investigating the dependent variable "Emotional
Anxiety. "

Table 6



Comparisons of Pairs of Means of Treatment Groups Dependent
Variable-Emotional Anxiety



Adiusted
Mean


Comparison
Group


14.5




I


14.8




II


15.7




III


22.4




IV



Group
II III



NS



IV

NS S

NS S

S



S - Significant



NS - Not Significant



69



Multiple comparisons for mathematics are given in
Table 7. There was a significant difference between
Control Group IV and Treatment Groups I and II when
investigating the dependent variable "Mathematics."

Table 7



Comparisons of Pairs of Means of Treatment Groups
Dependent Variable-Mathematics



Adjusted Comparison
Mean Group



27.1


I


26.7


II


25.6


III


23.8


IV



Group
II III


IV


NS NS


S


NS


S




NS



S - Significant



NS - Not Significant



70

Multiple comparisons for GPA are given in Table 8 .

There was a significant difference between Treatment

Group I and Control Group IV when investigating the

dependent variable GPA.

Table 8

Comparisons of Pairs of Means of Treatment Groups Dependent
Variable-GPA



Group
II III IV

NS NS S

NS NS

NS



Summary
The results of the analyses revealed a significant
difference between the control group and each of the
three treatment groups on total anxiety, worry anxiety,
and emotional anxiety. Posttest anxiety scores were
significantly lower for the three treatment groups
compared with the control group. For mathematics,
there were significant differences between Treatment
Group I and Control Group IV, and between Treatment
Group II and Group IV, but not between Treatment Group
III and Group IV.



Adiusted


Comparison


Mean


Group


2.72


I


2.45


II


2.46


III


2.11


IV



71
On GPA, Treatment Group I and Control Group IV
were significantly different, with the Treatment Group
revealing a higher mean GPA than the Control Group.



CHAPTER V
SUMMARY, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS



Summary

The purpose of this study was to investigate the
comparative effectiveness of three individualized
treatments designed to reduce test anxiety and improve
achievement. It has been illustrated in the literature
that the reduction of test anxiety subseguently enables
students to improve their academic performance. The
researcher designed this research project to determine
which of the three treatments would significantly
reduce test anxiety and, as a result, improve student
test performance. A randomized pretest post-test
control group design was used to test the hypothesis of
no interaction between the treatments and the dependent
variables measured at the pretest occasion. Results
indicated no significant interaction, therefore, the
second hypothesis of no effect of the treatment on the
mean dependent variable scores was tested.

One hundred forty-six test anxious students
responded to advertisements and referrals. After an
initial screening, one hundred students were

72



73
interviewed and provided an orientation to the study
procedures. The sampled students were then randomly
assigned to the treatment groups and the control group.
Classroom anxiety was simulated by administering the
mathematics portion of the W.R.A.T.-R under timed
preassessment directions. Students were told their
mathematics test results would be used to determine the
need for additional mathematics course work. Students
then completed the Test Anxiety Inventory producing a
worry, emotional, and total anxiety score. Official
GPA's for the students were provided by the college's
registrar. Students in the control group were
instructed to return in four weeks to complete
additional testing. Students in the three treatment
groups were directed to sign in at the media center,
check out two tapes per week for four weeks, listen to
the audio-tapes, follow directions on the tapes, and
complete a feedback sheet for each completed tape. The
sign-in sheet, distribution of tapes and feedback
sheets were monitored by the community college staff
having been trained by the researcher. The rationale
for the three selected treatments was derived from the
literature review. The three sets of treatment tapes



74
created by the researcher were based upon three
different theoretical approaches to test anxiety. The
first set of tapes contained eight different scripts
based on Sarason's (1980) cognitive theory of test
anxiety. The second set of eight treatment tapes
provided a behavioral approach created from Lang's
(1983) theory of emotional imagery. The third
treatment group received a set of eight different tapes
with scripts based on an information processing model
developed by Benjamin, et al. (1981) . A behavioral
relaxation component (Benson, 1975) was combined with
each of the treatments and served as the introduction
for each tape. The resulting analyses of these three
treatment groups indicated no pretest x treatment
interactions. ANCOVA was used to test for a treatment
effect on each dependent variable.

ANCOVA was performed on the posttest scores from
the Test Anxiety Inventory (total anxiety, worry
anxiety, and emotional anxiety) ; mathematic scores from
the Wide Range Achievement Test; and GPA scores. The
results led to the rejection of the null hypothesis
that there were no differences among the treatment
groups for each dependent variable. The significant



75
differences among the treatment groups led to multiple
comparisons using the Bonferroni method. A comparison
of all combinations of pairs of means were completed.

Results of the multiple comparisons revealed
significant differences between the control group and
each of the other three treatments for total anxiety,
worry anxiety, and emotional anxiety. All of the
treatments were effective for reducing the major
components of test anxiety.

The cognitive behavioral treatment group was
significantly different on test anxiety scores,
mathematics scores, and GPA from the control group.
Imagery with relaxation resulted in significant scores
for test anxiety and mathematics, but not for GPA. The
study skills with relaxation treatment was significant
for test anxiety only. Mathematics and GPA scores were
not significantly different from the control group for
the study skills treatment.

Discussion

All three treatments in this study were found to
be effective for reducing each of the components of
test anxiety when compared with the control group.



76
Results of this study concerning the cognitive
behavioral group (Group I) were consistent with the
findings of Sarason (1972) , Hembree (1988) , Smith
(1987) , and Bagoon (1988) . Each of the foregoing
researchers, in their respective studies, significantly
reduced TA and improved test performance with cognitive
behavioral manipulation. The combined approach of
cognitive and relaxation treatment in the present study
successfully addressed both worry and emotionality.
This lends support for a multimodal approach as
suggested in the literature review. The cognitive
relaxation results also support a self-help audiotaped
treatment for TA.

Improvement on the W.R.A.T.-R mathematics test for
the cognitive and imagery treatments was consistent
with Tyron's (1980) conclusions that lower TA is
followed by significant performance improvement.

Treatment effects on GPA in this study were
somewhat consistent with the literature reviewed in
chapter two. For example, Hembree (1988) consistently
found higher GPA scores with TA reduction from
cognitive behavioral treatments.



77
Visual imagery and relaxation were combined as one
treatment (Group II) in the present study. Relaxation
was included for reducing the physiological emotional
symptoms of TA. Imagery was designed for processing
the emotional experience within a structured context.
Results from previous studies (Jones, 1987; Matthews &
Quinn, 1987; and Hembree 1988), revealed that all of
the behavioral treatments they had reviewed,
successfully reduced TA. Although these behavioral
treatments were primarily aimed at reducing
emotionality, the effects seemed to generalize to worry
as well.

Results from the behavioral treatment in the
present study also revealed a significant reduction of
both worry and emotionality within the treatment group,
as compared with the control group, supporting earlier
findings that emotions may trigger worry (Hembree,
1988) .

Performance on the W.R.A.T.-R mathematics posttest
was significantly improved among the students who
experienced the relaxation and imagery treatments in
this study. This outcome tends to support the
conclusion that TA appears to cause poor performance.



78
The treatment for Group III in this study
(combined study skills and relaxation) indicates a
positive approach for reducing the worry and emotional
components of TA. The positive results from treatment
Group III in the present study may be partially
attributed to the treatment scripts. The scripts
included strategies to assist the different types of
test anxious students identified by Benjamin et al.
(1987) and Tobias (1985) . One type of test anxious
student had problems only with the retrieval of
information, while another type had difficulty
encoding, organizing, and exhibiting adeguate study
habits. The treatment scripts in this study addressed
all of these information processing areas. The results
of treatment Group III on TA in the present study gives
further support to the information processing model
outlined by Benjamin et al. (1987) .

One possible explanation for the outcome of the
study skills treatment on achievement in mathematics
and GPA may be that effective study skills training may
reguire longer treatment than the four weeks provided
in this study. Additionally, both the cognitive
behavioral treatment and the imagery with relaxation



79
treatment were more passive, requiring the student to
listen and attend either cognitively or visually, and
provided a longer time frame of actual relaxation. The
study skills treatment provided only five minutes of
relaxation at the beginning of each tape and required
some activity that reduced the time frame for
relaxation.

This is the first study attempting to present a
comprehensive treatment model for TA in a self-
contained audio-taped format. It appears that
automated treatment for test anxiety can be as
effective as direct contact. Use of self -directed
techniques have been successful for the reduction of TA
in a number of studies (Hiebert & Eby, 1985; Levi,
1985; Edelmann & Hardwick, 1986; Crowley, Crowley, &
Clodfelter, 1986) . However, none of these studies
included a performance measure.

Test anxiety can be significantly reduced and
performance significantly improved with a variety of
interventions. Combinations of relaxation with either
a cognitive, a behavioral, or a study skills treatment
were effective in TA reduction in this study.
Performance gains were also found for the cognitive and



80
behavioral approach when each was combined with
relaxation. These treatments reduced both worry and
emotional components of test anxiety. Significant
improvement in test performance consistently
accompanied TA reduction for cognitive behavioral and
combined behavioral treatments. Grade point averages
were also significantly improved for the cognitive
treatment .

Evidence for a behavioral construct of TA could be
interpreted by the results of the relaxation treatment
included for each group. The reduction of emotional
anxiety generalized to worry as well.

Implications and Recommendations

This investigation provided alternative treatments
for students experiencing test anxiety. The design
incorporated methodological recommendations from
previous research such as multiple methods of
assessment, and the inclusion of a behavioral component
combined with other treatment modalities. This study
also introduced a complete multimodal, self-contained
treatment via audio cassette tapes.



81
From previous literature review the researcher
concluded that any credible intervention incorporating
a behavioral approach with cognitive, visual, or
information processing materials would result in lower
test anxiety. This study attests to the viability of a
self-contained treatment for those students who would
not otherwise request assistance for their test
anxiety. This generates several implications for
practice. Students could be offered various
interventions targeting specific cognitive, emotional,
or skill development strategies as has been suggested
in previous research (Smith, 1987) . And finally,
students could be involved in the selection of their
own treatments which they could perform independently.

Future research should include exploring
additional preventive strategies. Teaching positive
interventions such as relaxation, prior to high school,
could diminish the intensity of the TA problem. The
use of a self-contained approach in a classroom or
library setting could minimize the need for personal
interventions later.

For future studies involving test-retest designs,
actual classroom examinations need to be included.



82
More reliable outcomes would result from measuring
classroom performance.

Since TA appears to be a behavioral construct,
the inclusion of a behavioral component would be more
expedient in designing future treatments for TA
reduction. Behavioral treatments improved TA as well
as performance.

Further recommendations also include diagnostic
screenings identifying etiology of an individual's TA.
Such information could provide direction for
prescriptive treatment aimed at specific processes with
which students need help. Further studies are required
to establish the generalizability of these effects
across other populations and across other types of
tests. The present study provides a small step toward
a more comprehensive and individualized approach in
assisting test anxious students.



JASTAK*

ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS



APPENDIX A
PERMISSION LETTER



Dr. Joe Wittmer

Department of Counselor Education

1215 Norman Hall

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL 32611

Dear Dr. Wittmer,

Dr Gary Wilkinson, Vice President of Jastak Associates, has asked that I send this letter granting
Sue Poe Jobe, a Doctoral Student at the University of Florida, permission to use the WRAT-R in
her project researching treatment for test anxiety.

Specifically, she has requested permission to divide the problems into two forms, using the odd
items on one and the even items on the other, in order to have a pre and post test for her project.
We are pleased to be able to grant this permission. We are always pleased to be able to assist
in doctoral research utilizing our test instruments. It is understood that this permission is given
exclusively for this project and is not to be used for any other purpose without our express
permission.

Please do not hesitate to contact me again if you require additional information.
Sincerely,



a / //Cco : V CCol
jian G. lyfcWatters
Administrative Assistant

J
cc: Sue Poe Jobe



83



"jASTAK ASSOCIATES, INC • 15 ASHLEY PLACE ■ SUITE 1A ■ WILMINGTON DELAWARE 19804-1314 ■ (302) 652-499



APPENDIX B
FLYER FOR RECRUITMENT OF STUDENTS




Test Anxiety??

Low GPA??

Failing two or more classes??




'FREE HELP' is available to reduce your anxiety and to
teach you how to test without all that stress.

'TEN' meetings, arranged at your convenience, is al
that is required to help you improve your
concentration, your test scores, and your GPA.



Comments by students who have completed the 10
sessions:

"Wish I had this experience sooner!"
"I cannot believe the difference!"
"It sure has helped me!"

Take your first step towards academic success!




■■■
■■■



Call Sue Jobe
738-1296




■S3



84



APPENDIX C

SCREENING QUESTIONS FOR TEST ANXIETY:

(Adapted from Coon, 1986)

When testing, do you often:

1. Feel extremely tense or anxious? Y N

2 . Feel extremely anxious? Y N

3 . Spend a lot of time worrying about whether

you will pass? Y N

4. Go blank, even when you should know the
answers?

5. Feel hurried?

6. Feel inadeguate?

7 . Feel panicked?

Students must answer at least four of the screening
guestions with a yes to be considered as a subject.

Screening guestions for achievement:

1. Do you fear you may be failing any classes now?

Yes No

2 . Have you failed any classes since you started
college? Yes No



Y


N


Y


N


Y


N


Y


N



85



APPENDIX D

EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT GROUP I

(COGNITIVE AND RELAXATION)

Tape I Side A

The initial relaxation cycle consisted of deep
breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and focusing.
This portion of the tape was the same for each session
across all treatment groups and lasted approximately
five minutes.

The cognitive cycle consisted of suggestions for
focusing and concentrating, and a script for improving
self-esteem and lowering anxiety.
Tape I Side B

The script emphasized concentration, attention,
retention, and affirming statements, following the
relaxation cycle.
Tape II Side A

The first five minutes of relaxation was followed
by a rational text of a vignette describing failing an
examination and thinking irrational thoughts with an
emphasis on a more rational approach.
Tape II Side B

After the relaxation cycle, the script continued
to emphasize a more rational approach when dealing with

86



87

negative thoughts concerning evaluative situations.
Affirmations of desired goals were included along with
simulated role-playing of desired behaviors with the
use of metaphors.
Tape III Side A

The relaxation cycle was followed by memory
performance, including problem solving strategies,
memory supports and analysis of future events for
planning.
Tape III Side B

The relaxation cycle was followed by more memory
supports and technigues for enhancing long and short
term memory.
Tape IV Side A

After the relaxation cycle, specific cues for
cognitive restructuring during a testing setting were
reviewed along with a focus on concentration and
retention of material.
Tape IV Side B

The relaxation cycle was followed by rational
thought patterns in context.



APPENDIX E

EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT GROUP II

(IMAGERY AND RELAXATION)

Tape I Side A

The relaxation cycle was followed by an
introduction to using the senses with a series of
visual metaphors. Reducing anxiety through imaging and
descriptors completed the tape.
Tape I Side B

Relaxation was followed by direct use of emotive
imagery for problem solving. Exploring through imagery
and descriptors to overcome emotional blocks was the
focus for this portion of the tape.
Tape II Side A

Relaxation was followed by a script for changing
history using positive or neutral emotions through
imagery and descriptors.
Tape II Side B

Relaxation was followed by creative imaging for
specific anxiety related to academic problems.
Tape III Side A

Relaxation was followed by direct suggestions for
integration of emotions and positive imagery.

88



89
Tape III Side B

Relaxation was followed by a review of the imaging
technigues with some descriptor anchoring cues to
reinforce them.
Tape IV Side A

Relaxation was followed by problem solving with
exploratory imaging using a practice script for
changing emotional history.
Tape IV Side B

Relaxation was followed by neutral and positive
creative imagery for specific problems, and the
integration of emotions with the positive imagery.



APPENDIX F

EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT GROUP III

(STUDY SKILLS AND RELAXATION)

Tape I Side A

Following the relaxation cycle, there was an
introduction to study skills included shaping study
behaviors through self-scheduling, motivators, and
reinforcement .
Tape I Side B

After the relaxation cycle, technigues for more
efficient encoding and organizing of material were
introduced.
Tape II Side A

After the relaxation cycle, there were technigues
for retrieval of information and the Question, Search,
Run, Read, Recite (QS3R) method of encoding
information.
Tape II Side B

After relaxation, a continuation of the QS3R
method was presented.
Tape III Side A

Following relaxation, there were suggestions for
effective note taking and technigues for approaching an
examination.



90



91



Tape III Side B

Following relaxation, there was information for
obtaining more information from lectures and reading.
Tape IV Side A

Following relaxation, there was information for
approaching different types of materials to learn, and
different learning styles.
Tape IV Side B

A continuation of strategies for more precise
learning concluded this tape.



APPENDIX G
INFORMED CONSENT FORM

I, Sue Jobe, am a doctoral student at the University of
Florida in the Department of Counselor Education.

You are invited to participate in a research study to assess
the results of various methods for decreasing test anxiety and
raising academic achievement levels.

If you choose to participate, you will complete several
guestionnaires before and after the study. Participation will
involve a preliminary meeting lasting 1 hour. There will be eight
sessions of 40-50 minute tapes in the media center for four
weeks. Any guestions you have will be answered at the end of the
study.

Participation in this study will not involve any physical or
emotional threat to you and you are free to discontinue at any
time without prejudice. If you complete the study you may benefit
by learning stress reducing technigues. All strategies are well
researched methods and this project is being supervised by Dr.
Wittmer from the University of Florida.

All information received from this study will be used for
research purposes only and your identity will be kept
confidential. This information will be used as group data only
and personal information will be destroyed at the end of the
study. If you have any guestions or concerns at any time please
contact the researcher, Sue Jobe, at 738-1296.

I am also a State of Florida licensed School Psychologist and
a licensed Mental Health Counselor.

I thank you for agreeing to be a participant. There is no
monetary compensation, however some instructors may give extra
credit for your participation.

Your signature indicates that you have read the information
and voluntarily consent to participate and release information in
your official records (GPA) for this research project.

I have read and I understand the procedure above. I agree
to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of
this description.



Signature of Subject Date



Signature of Investigator Date



92



APPENDIX H
DEMOGRAPHIC DATA SHEET



Name:



Address:



Telephone Numbers: (H) (W)



Sex: M F , Age: , Birthdate:

Marital Status: S M D W

Education Level: 12 3 4 (Years of College)
How many semester hours are you enrolled for?



Grade Point Average: , Number of Classes Failed: 12 3 4

Employed: Yes No Hours per week:

Do you have any health problems? Yes No , If yes,

please describe.



Do you see anyone professionally for your anxiety? Yes
No , If yes, please describe.



Have you ever had any formal relaxation training? Yes No

Is there anything going on in your life now that could be causing
you to be anxious?



If you could rate your test anxiety level on a scale from
to 10 with indicating no anxiety and 10 the highest where
would your score be now?

Please circle: 0123456789 10

93



APPENDIX I
FEEDBACK SHEET-TAPES



GROUP TAPE # DATE_

NAME



B.D. Check one: DAY CLASSES_

NIGHT CLASSES



1. What did you think/ feel about this tape?



2 . What would have made it better for you?



Thank you for your participation this week. Please don't
forget to schedule yourself for next week.

Remember to write a time to listen to your next tape on
your calendar.

Please leave this sheet in the media center.



94



APPENDIX J
SIGN-IN SHEET



Group Name Date Tape #



95



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I was born in Michigan and attended schools there
through junior college. After Jackson Community College and
a semester at Michigan State University, I moved to Florida
with my husband and son. Undergraduate work was completed
at Jacksonville University in education. After working as a
teacher for several years, a master's in special education
was finished at the University of North Florida in 1973.
Another masters was completed in psychology at the
University of West Florida in 1976. A doctorate in
counselor education from the University of Florida was
completed in 1992.



108



I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.




ittmer, Chai



YYUA



guished Service Professor
ounselor Education



I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.





is J. Alg

lessor of
ication



I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.




ravis A.



Tr/avis A. Carter
Assistant Professor of Counselor
Education



This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

August 1992



Q<2Ms-d2 �



Dean, College of Educatid



Dean, Graduate School



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA



3 1262 08285 392 9



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