Title: Three individualized treatments for test anxiety and academic achievement among community college students
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102728/00001
 Material Information
Title: Three individualized treatments for test anxiety and academic achievement among community college students
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Poe, Carolyn Sue
Copyright Date: 1992
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Bibliographic ID: UF00102728
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - AJM6418
oclc - 27735302

Full Text







This dissertation is dedicated to my 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.


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


other friends and family members who struggled along

with me often listening to my painful changes in the


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.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS............................. ii

ABSTRACT.................................. vi


I INTRODUCTION..............................1

Theoretical Framework.....................,.4
Statement of the Problem..................13
Purpose of the Study......................18
Need for the Study........................20
Definition of Terms.......................22
Organization of the Study.................23


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 METHODOL OGY. .............................4

Population.......... ....................4
Independent Variable......................49
Procedures. ..............................5
Academic Achievement......................56
Design and Data Analysis..................59
Limitations of the Study..................62

IV RESULTS................................... 6

Analyses ..................................63
Summary.. .................................7

RECOMMENDATIONS.. .........................7

Summary............................ ....... 7
Implications and Recommendations...........80

APPENDICES................................... 8

A PERMISSION LETTER..........................83
G INFORMED CONSENT FORM......................92
H DEMOGRAPHIC DATA SHEET.....................93
I FEEDBACK SHEET-TAPES.......................94
J SIGN IN SHEET..............................95

REFERENCES................................... 9

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



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


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.



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

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


Moon Chang (1986) indicated that test anxiety is a

multi-dimensional problem requiring a treatment program

to help reduce the emotional component of test anxiety

as well as teaching the proper skills to remediate such


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 (1987),

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

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

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


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.

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


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.

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,


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).

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

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.


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

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.


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

after one counseling session are between 20%-25%

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.

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,


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

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


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


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).


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


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?

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 40%

had ideation that could be considered serious (Bonner &

Rich, 1988).

Students with test anxiety need proven techniques

that allow them to adjust to their individual

differences and perform at their maximum ability

(Matthews & Quinn, 1987). Calmer, less anxious

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


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

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 80% 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.

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


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,


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



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 inadequate 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


effective study skills reduced the capacity required by


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


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

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 inadequate knowledge of the subject matter.

Therefore, students should be given learning strategies

as well as anxiety coping techniques 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,


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.


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.

Hunsley (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

20 years of research studies and concluded that

combined treatment approaches must be used for

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,


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.

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

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


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


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


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.

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

& 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

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


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


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

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 techniques in treating TA indicated that

multimodal treatment approaches were effective for

reducing TA and improving performance. Successful

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


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

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.

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

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

120 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


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.

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).

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,



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


This chapter includes the hypotheses, design of

the study, population, sample, procedures, treatments,

instruments, statistical analysis, and limitations of

the study.


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.


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 requirements

were as follows:

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

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 36 males with ages ranging from 18 to

57. The representation of cultural groups included 16

African Americans, 26 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

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


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 (1975) 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.


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

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


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

protesting. 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

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.


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 20 items asking students to

indicate how frequently and how intensely they

experience TA before, during and following an


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


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


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 20 item TAI total

scale and the 37-item TAS are essentially equivalent

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.

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

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 Group I (Exp~erimental 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).

Treatment Group II (Experimental Imagery And

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

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.

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

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

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.

Ho,: 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;

HO,: There is no effect of the treatment on the

mean dependent variable scores.

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


Other uncontrolled variables included some

students receiving tutoring services from the college

and student enrollment in mathematics classes during

the course of this study.


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.


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.,
Mathematics and GPA

Variable Interaction Error Hypoth. MS Error MS F E

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

Tests for Main Effects

Descriptive statistics for the protests and posttests

are presented in Table 2.

Table 2

Means and Standard Deviation of Experimental and Control



Mean S.D.

22.6 3.60

23.1 4.03

23.6 4.38

21.8 3.02














Mean S.D.

1.86 0.84

1.78 0.73

1.70 0.84

2.24 0.60

Gr u



























Mean S.D.

27.0 4.75

27.0 3.97

26.4 5.06

21.8 3.87


Mean S.D.

15.6 4.69

15.2 4.73

14.7 4.75

21.3 4.88








Mean S.D.

2.71 0.59

2.40 0.58

2.35 0.85

2.32 0.55





















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


Table 3

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

Variable Treatment Error Hypoth. MS Error MS F p
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-1)/2, where k equals

the number of groups.

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 Anxiety

Adjusted Comparison Group
Mean 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

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 Grouy












S Significant

NS Not Significant

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


Table 6

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

Adjusted Comparison
Mean 9229

14.5 I

14.8 II

15.7 III

22.4 IV



I 11


S Significant

NS Not Significant

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 Grogy

27.1 I

26.7 II

25.6 III

23.8 IV





S Significant

NS Not Significant


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

Adjusted Comparison Group
Mean QGoup I II III IV

2.72 I NS NS S

2.45 II NS NS

2.46 III NS

2.11 IV


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.


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.



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 subsequently 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


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

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

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


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.


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.

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.


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,


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.

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 adequate 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

require longer treatment than the four weeks provided

in this study. Additionally, both the cognitive

behavioral treatment and the imagery with relaxation

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


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 &r 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

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


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.

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.

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.



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

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


J nG.cWatters icw Z(
m inistrative Assistant

,/c: Sue Poe Jobe




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 all
that is required to help you improve your
concentration, your test scores, and your GPA.

Comments by students who have completed the 10

"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

111 ~ 738-1 296 1 ~

(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? Y N

5. Feel hurried? Y N

6. Feel inadequate? Y N

7. Feel panicked? Y N

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

Screening questions 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


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

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


Tape III Side B

The relaxation cycle was followed by more memory

supports and techniques 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.


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.


Tape III Side B

Relaxation was followed by a review of the imaging

techniques 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.


Tape I Side A

Following the relaxation cycle, there was an

introduction to study skills included shaping study

behaviors through self-scheduling, motivators, and


Tape I Side B

After the relaxation cycle, techniques for more

efficient encoding and organizing of material were


Tape II Side A

After the relaxation cycle, there were techniques

for retrieval of information and the Question, Search,

Run, Read, Recite (QS3R) method of encoding


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 techniques for approaching an


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.


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
questionnaires 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 questions you have will be answered at the end of the

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 techniques. 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 questions 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

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