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Social and personal predictors of test anxiety among Norwegian secondary and postsecondary students

Abstract

This study examined predictors of test anxiety in a sample of 2528 Norwegian upper-secondary and postsecondary students by means of structural equation modeling. Results showed that personal goals related to career and grades positively predicted test anxiety, whereas self-efficacy beliefs were a negative predictor of test anxiety. In turn, participants’ personal goals and self-efficacy beliefs were predicted by perceived family expectation and gender and, thus, mediated the effects of those variables on test anxiety. Specifically, academic expectations from students’ families had an indirect positive effect on test anxiety mediated by career goal and an indirect negative effect on test anxiety mediated by self-efficacy beliefs, and gender indirectly affected test anxiety through self-efficacy beliefs (with females displaying lower self-efficacy beliefs than males). Finally, both family expectation and gender also had direct effects on test anxiety. The unique contribution of this large scale study is highlighted and theoretical and educational implications are discussed.

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Correspondence to Ivar Bråten.

Appendix

Appendix

Descriptive information about the measured variables for upper-secondary and postsecondary students separately

  Upper-secondary students (n = 1566, 59% female) Higher education students (n = 962, 68% female)
M SD M SD
Family expectation 5.77 1.20 5.28 1.33
Career goal 4.36 1.85 4.16 1.79
Grade ambition 0.65 0.58 0.81 0.80
Self-efficacy 5.13 1.19 4.94 1.20
Test anxiety 4.51 1.65 4.64 1.65

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Brandmo, C., Bråten, I. & Schewe, O. Social and personal predictors of test anxiety among Norwegian secondary and postsecondary students. Soc Psychol Educ 22, 43–61 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-018-9461-y

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Keywords

  • Test anxiety
  • Family expectation
  • Gender
  • Personal goals
  • Self-efficacy beliefs