One Measure Can’t Capture It All : Comparing Different Assessment Methods of Anxiety in Learning and Achievement Situations

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The current dissertation is based on three related Research Papers, in which different dimensions of assessing anxiety in learning and achievement situations, namely trait and state self-report assessments of anxiety (Paper I), the different anxiety components (Paper II) and physiological measures of anxiety (Paper III) are examined and compared with each other concerning their results. The first study investigated the discrepancy between generalized trait and situation-specific state self-report measures of anxiety in mathematics in a sample of students with high and low achievement levels. Previous studies have revealed that trait anxiety measures are typically rated higher than state measures. In addition, the academic self-concept has been identified to play a moderating role in the so-called trait-state discrepancy, with a higher academic self-concept leading to a lower discrepancy (i.e., less overestimation of trait anxiety when state assessments reflect actual experience). Therefore, it was predicted in this study that high achievers, due to their higher academic self-concept in mathematics, exhibit a smaller trait-state discrepancy in anxiety than students with low achievement levels. The results were in line with this hypothesis and demonstrated that high achievers even underestimated their anxiety when judging it from a trait as compared to a state perspective. Taken together, this study shows that state and trait self-report measures of anxiety can yield different results and that even high achievers experience some anxiety in class. The second study investigated the different components of test anxiety (i.e., cognitive, affective, physiological, and motivational components) using an intra-individual approach. The first aim of this study was to examine the relative impact of the different components of anxiety in the mediating mechanism that connects control, anxiety and performance - as proposed by the control-value theory. Thereby it sought to identify which component should be primarily addressed by anxiety interventions and instructional techniques in order to improve students’ performance. A second aim of this study was to uncover which anxiety component underlies the commonly used and very convenient single-item anxiety measures. In line with the expectations, the anxiety components indeed differed in their relative impact on test performance, with the cognitive component being central for this outcome. Furthermore, results indicated that behind a single-item anxiety measure we most likely find the affective anxiety component and thus, not the component most relevant for performance. Therefore, it is important to consider and differentiate between the anxiety components and select the assessment method based on the research question at hand. The third study used the methodological approach of a systematic review to investigate the relationship between traditional self-report measures of test anxiety with another type of measure, namely physiological measurement. This assessment method has gained increased attention in pedagogical psychological research in recent years. Results of the systematic review showed that in line with theoretical considerations, self-report measures of test anxiety and physiological measures (e.g., cardiovascular measures, electrodermal measures, cortisol sampling) were significantly correlated in the majority of the reviewed studies. The correlations were moderate, suggesting that although the two measures overlap, they should not be used interchangeably. In conclusion, each of these measures provides information about a person’s anxiety and applying both of the two measures might contribute to a better measurement and thus also a better understanding of this often detrimental emotion. Furthermore, variables that can influence the relation between self-report and physiological measures were identified (e.g., sampling rate, choice of physiological measure and the way the data is analyzed) and are discussed with regard to a successful assessment of physiological data in future research. Taken together, from the results of these three Research Papers it can be concluded that it is important to distinguish between different ways of assessing anxiety and to select the assessment method according to the research focus. Besides its implications for research, the present thesis provides novel perspectives on how to successfully influence anxiety in learning and achievement situations.
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Die vorliegende Dissertation basiert auf drei verwandten Forschungsarbeiten, in denen verschiedene Dimensionen der Erfassung von Angst in Lern- und Leistungssituationen, nämlich Trait- und State-Selbstberichtsmaße von Angst (Paper I), die verschiedenen Angstkomponenten (Paper II) und physiologische Messungen von Angst (Paper III), differenziert betrachtet und hinsichtlich ihrer Forschungsergebnisse miteinander verglichen werden. Die erste Studie untersuchte die Diskrepanz zwischen generalisierten Trait- und situationsspezifischen State Selbstberichtsmaßen von Angst im Fach Mathematik in einer Stichprobe von Schülerinnen und Schülern mit hohem und niedrigem Leistungsniveau. Frühere Studien haben gezeigt, dass Trait-Maße zur Erfassung von Angst typischerweise zu höheren Angstwerten führen als State Maße. Darüber hinaus wurde festgestellt, dass das akademische Selbstkonzept eine moderierende Rolle in der sogenannten Trait-State-Diskrepanz spielt, wobei ein höheres akademisches Selbstkonzept zu einer geringeren Diskrepanz führte (d. h. weniger Überschätzung der Trait-Angst, wenn State Maße das tatsächliche Erleben widerspiegeln). Daher wurde in dieser Studie angenommen, dass Schülerinnen und Schüler mit hohem Leistungsniveau aufgrund ihres höheren akademischen Selbstkonzepts im Fach Mathematik eine geringere Trait-State-Diskrepanz der Angst aufweisen als Schülerinnen und Schüler mit niedrigerem Leistungsniveau. Die Ergebnisse entsprachen dieser Hypothese und zeigten, dass Hochleistende ihre Angst sogar unterschätzten, wenn sie sie aus einer Trait- im Vergleich zu einer State-Perspektive beurteilten. Zusammenfassend zeigte diese Studie, dass Trait- und State-Selbstberichtsmaße von Angst unterschiedliche Ergebnisse liefern können und dass selbst Hochleistende im Unterricht ein gewisses Maß an Angst erleben. Die zweite Studie untersuchte die verschiedenen Komponenten der Prüfungsangst (d.h. kognitive, affektive, physiologische und motivationale Komponenten) mit einem intraindividuellen Ansatz. Das erste Ziel dieser Studie war es, den relativen Einfluss der verschiedenen Angstkomponenten zu untersuchen in dem von der Kontroll-Wert-Theorie postulierten Vermittlungsmechanismus, der Kontrolle, Angst und Leistung miteinander verbindet. Dadurch sollte die Komponente identifiziert werden, die in erster Linie durch Angstinterventionen und Unterrichtstechniken angesprochen werden sollte, um die Leistung der Schülerinnen und Schüler zu verbessern. Ein zweites Ziel dieser Studie war es, herauszufinden, welche Angstkomponente den häufig verwendeten und sehr praktischen Einzelitem-Angstmessungen zugrunde liegt. Wie erwartet unterschieden sich die Angstkomponenten tatsächlich in ihrem relativen Einfluss auf die Prüfungsleistung, wobei die kognitive Komponente hierfür von zentraler Bedeutung war. Darüber hinaus deuteten die Ergebnisse darauf hin, dass wir hinter einem Einzelitem höchstwahrscheinlich die affektive Komponente und damit nicht die für die Leistung zentrale Komponente finden. Daher ist es wichtig, die Komponenten entsprechend zu berücksichtigen und zwischen ihnen zu differenzieren und die Erhebungsmethode anhand der jeweils vorliegenden Forschungsfrage auszuwählen. Die dritte Studie verwendet den methodischen Ansatz eines systematischen Reviews, um den Zusammenhang zwischen traditionellen Selbstberichtsmaßen von Prüfungsangst und einer weiteren Erhebungsmethode, nämlich physiologischen Messungen, zu untersuchen. Diese Maße haben in den letzten Jahren in der pädagogisch psychologischen Forschung zunehmend an Aufmerksamkeit gewonnen. In Übereinstimmung mit theoretischen Überlegungen, zeigten die Ergebnisse des systematischen Reviews, dass Selbstberichtsmaße von Prüfungsangst und physiologische Maße (z.B. kardiovaskuläre Messungen, elektrodermale Messungen, und Cortisolproben) in der Mehrheit der untersuchten Studien signifikant korreliert waren. Die Korrelationen waren moderat, was darauf hindeutet, dass sich die beiden Messungen zwar überschneiden, aber nicht austauschbar verwendet werden sollten. Zusammenfassend lässt sich sagen, dass jede dieser Erhebungsmethoden Informationen über die Angst einer Person liefert und die Anwendung beider Methoden zu einer besseren Messung und damit auch zu einem besseren Verständnis dieser oftmals nachteiligen Emotion beitragen könnte. Darüber hinaus wurden Aspekte identifiziert, die den Zusammenhang zwischen Selbstberichtsmaßen und physiologischen Messungen beeinflussen können (z.B. die Samplingrate, die Wahl des physiologischen Maßes und die Art und Weise der Datenanalyse); diese werden im Hinblick auf eine erfolgreiche Erhebung physiologischer Parameter in zukünftigen Studien diskutiert. Zusammenfassend lässt sich aus den Ergebnissen dieser drei Forschungsarbeiten schlussfolgern, dass es wichtig ist, zwischen verschiedenen Methoden zur Erhebung von Angst zu differenzieren und die Methode entsprechend dem Forschungsschwerpunkt auszuwählen. Neben den Implikationen für die Forschung bietet die vorliegende Arbeit auch neue Perspektiven, wie man Angst in Lern- und Leistungssituationen erfolgreich beeinflussen kann.
Subject (DDC)
150 Psychology
Keywords
anxiety, assessment, achievement, learning, physiological measures, experience-sampling method
Conference
Review
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Cite This
ISO 690ROOS, Anna-Lena, 2019. One Measure Can’t Capture It All : Comparing Different Assessment Methods of Anxiety in Learning and Achievement Situations [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz
BibTex
@phdthesis{Roos2019Measu-46874,
  year={2019},
  title={One Measure Can’t Capture It All : Comparing Different Assessment Methods of Anxiety in Learning and Achievement Situations},
  author={Roos, Anna-Lena},
  address={Konstanz},
  school={Universität Konstanz}
}
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July 15, 2019
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Konstanz, Univ., Doctoral dissertation, 2019
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