chapter  3
28 Pages

Incidence, Correlates, and Possible Causes of Test Anxiety in Graduate Admissions Testing

Probably because of its association with performance on various sorts of important tasks, the construct of anxiety has been quite prominent in the study of personality. Anxiety has been studied extensively in testing situations in particular, because tests play such a significant role in facilitating decisions of many kinds. Moreover, testing has provided a convenient context in which to study anxiety. Test anxiety is, in fact, one of the most frequently studied constructs in educational and psychological measurement, competing only with test bias for top billing as the “villain in the melodrama of standardized testing” (Anderson & Sauser, 1977, p. 1). Wildemuth (1977), for example, annotated more than 200 studies of test anxiety that were conducted from 1970 to 1977, and listed a comparable number of investigations that were completed before 1970. Reviews by Anderson and Sauser (1977) and by Tryon (1980) have covered both the measurement and treatment of anxiety, and Sarason (1980) has devoted a complete book to various aspects of the topic. Perhaps the most striking indication of the continued interest in test anxiety, however, is the establishment in 1980 of the Society for Test Anxiety Research (STAR), which held its first international conference in December 1980 (Schwarzer, Vander Ploeg, & Spielberger, 1982).