Test Anxiety and Its Impact on Diverse Undergraduate Engineering Students during Remote Learning


Test anxiety can have a significant negative impact on students' mental health, academic performance, and persistence of marginalized or underrepresented students in engineering degree programs. With the recent transition to remote learning, test anxiety may be exacerbated by a number of factors related to students' access to resources, study habits, and exam formats. In this paper, we present students' self-reported responses to survey questions related to these aspects of remote learning as well as questions specific to test anxiety that come from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). We survey undergraduate engineering students from multiple departments at two different four-year universities (University of California, Irvine and University of Memphis) and perform statistical analyses of responses to assess the impact of these factors on students' test anxiety and academic performance. We compare responses of students from different demographic groups using pairwise statistical tests to understand the degree to which underrepresented minority, female, low income, first generation, and transfer students may be uniquely affected by these factors. Furthermore, we investigate the relationship between test anxiety, GPA, class level, and number of enrolled units. Results suggest similar remote learning experiences and challenges for all students, though female students report the highest level of test anxiety, and higher test anxiety is negatively correlated with GPA for all students. These results will inform future data collection and analysis as we return to in person learning to better distinguish the impacts of exam and learning formats on diverse students' anxiety and academic performance.

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ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

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