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Please Help. Look at my post (titled Behavioral Study)

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:00 pm
by donnyshira
Please, please, look and reply.

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:23 am
by scibudadmin
Please be patient. Experts check the forum on a regular basis and will respond to your question as quickly as they can. While you are waiting I suggest you read over the information on the Science Buddies website about creating your question.

Good luck with your project!

Melissa G.
Science Buddies Staff


Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:19 pm
by donnyshira
Thanks for the advice.

anxiety and testing

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:04 pm
by WJClancey
Hello Donnyshira,

Can you provide more context about why you are asking these questions? How does this fit into your project? Were there specific results you are trying to explain?


Reply for Bill

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:17 pm
by donnyshira
My project is about test taking anxiety and whether a teacher's attitude towards their students before a test will affect the students' score on the test. The experiment I performed was to have a group of 20 students, and give them 2 similar tests at different times. The first time they took the test, my science teacher, the person who agreed to give the test, yelled at them, complained about having to give the test, and didn't let them ask any questions. The second was with a very similar test and he was very kind, apologized, and gave them candy after the test. As I looked at the results I noticed that, As I suspected, the "mean" test was the one in which almost all students scored lower. But I am also supposed to find out more information, and I thought that science buddies would be a good place to ask about what I needed to know, in addition to going online and researching it.

Thanks for your help, and your answers (hopefully)!

understanding test results with a demanding teacher

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:54 pm
by WJClancey
Hi Donnyshira,

Well, an interesting result, isn't it? But what does it mean? You have tests and two different situations, with different results. Is anxiety the cause of the different results?

So first I'd start with the data. Did both sets of students finish the exams? Or did the students who were yelled at have less time because they were interrupted? You see, the results might have nothing to do with anxiety.

Do you have any other data from the students after they took the exams? Did you interview them? Maybe some were not anxious, but upset at the teacher and simply decided not to take the test seriously.

So before we talk about explanatory principles, we need to have data that is pointing in a certain direction -- just the results themselves don't suggest anxiety. Did the students report being concerned or did this show in their behavior in some other way (e.g., some were crying or came up to the teacher and expressed concern about the exam).

Or did the students who were unable to ask questions lack information they needed to complete the tests successfully?

Also, I am wondering if the students knew that this was an experiment?


PS. I'm on the east coast and signing off for the night so I can read a book. Perhaps I'll be able to participate on the forum again tomorrow.

Reply 2 for Bill

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:16 pm
by donnyshira
There were not two different groups of students taking the tests. All students took both tests. I understand that anxiety is not the only factor. My teacher wants me to look into what the affective filter is, and how different people having a higher tolerance for what goes on.

The students finished the exams. Some questions were skipped but I am almost sure that they were only skipping them because they did not know the answer. All the students that took the test are very dedicated students and I know they took the test seriously.

When the students were yelled at, they had a limited amount of time to work. At the time when the teacher was cheerful and supportive, they were given as much time as they needed.

I did interview three of them and they all pretty much said the same thing, that the test was a little scary when the teacher was being mean because they didn't know why he was mad, or whether he was specificly mad at them or not. When they took the "nice" test, they said they actually enjoyed and thought they did better on the test because they weren't being yelled at.

Some of the students talked lowly of the teacher afterwards, and also during the test whenever a student wanted to ask a question, the teacher would blow them off and they told me afterwards that it made them feel kind of unimportant.

The students did know it was an experiment, but they didn't know what it was about. All they knew was that they were going to take a test.

I can't thank you enough for your help!


about affective filter and testing

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:27 am
by WJClancey
Hello Donnyshira,

Your response is quite complete and you appear to have a good grasp of your work-- that's great!

I checked out Affective Filter on Google and found the Wikipedia article, which cited another article on Monitor Theory. At the bottom of that article, you'll find some "external links" to primary references (the original research). I believe you'll find some good connections there.

Getting back to the experiment itself, the trick in the analysis is to determine the causal process at work--what's the critical variable? Is it emotional or the amount of time? Assuming the tests were known to be similar in difficulty, then maybe time available was the critical factor.

Very often after running an experiment, we realize we need to run more questions to isolate the variables. In your case, this might not be practical, so you could draw on other research to make an argument (your explanatory theory about the results). In particular, you need to know about the how time available affects test results. (Perhaps you already know that another student is working on this question in the forum).

I'm not too sure where you are in your analysis, so I'll stop there. I'll check my email again this evening, and meanwhile perhaps others will chime in with ideas.


Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:26 am
by donnyshira
Thank you for all your help. It all really did HELP. I'll post back if I have any questions, and if you think you have any other ideas about my project, feel free to post!