Elementary and middle school students’ perceptions of tests
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CitationBulgan, G. (2017). Elementary and middle school students' perceptions of tests. In C. Pracana & M. Wang (Eds.). International Psychological Applications Conference and Trends Book of Proceedings, pp. 123, [ Lisbon, Portugal.]
Tests continue to have a large place in the educational system. Particularly in the Turkish educational system, students have to take national exams that identify their subsequent schooling and future job opportunities. Test anxiety, which is often experienced by students during test taking, is strongly related to students’ academic achievement (Crişan & Copaci, 2015; McDonald, 2001; Owens, Stevenson, Hadwin, & Norgate, 2012). Even though there has been a large body of international research on test anxiety (Bodas & Ollendick, 2005; Lowe & Ang, 2012) studies on this area in the Turkish literature has been limited mostly to high school and university student samples. Considering Turkish students’ low achievement in mathematics and science fields in international tests (Eğitim Reformu Girişimi, 2014), it is important to focus on understanding how students perceive tests and how they feel during test taking in order to take effective preventive measures. Therefore, the current study is focused on assessing children’s perceptions of tests through content analysis. The sample is consisted of 1143 participants (566 girls and 570 boys) attending 3rd (n = 320), 4th (n = 420), 5th (n = 197), and 6th (n = 206) grade classes in three public schools in Istanbul, Turkey. A brief demographic information form and two open-ended questions were administered to participants at the beginning of a class period. It took approximately 15-minutes for the students to complete the questions. Findings indicated that three main domains emerged from the data. The domains and the categories under each domain were as follows: evaluation (grades, success, learning and development, and intelligence), emotions (excitement, fear and anxiety, happiness, curiosity, mixed feelings, and disappointment), and experiential process (answering questions, studying, difficulty, thinking, having fun, cheating, and silence). Understanding students’ perceptions of and experiences in tests and testing early on in their studies will give researchers and practitioners the chance to plan effective applications for treatment and prevention, which would influence students’ future achievement and experiences in testing. The study findings could also help teachers and mental health professionals working with elementary and middle school students plan for more effective teaching and counseling programs that take into account students’ anxiety levels during tests.
SourceInternational Psychological Applications Conference and Trends 2017 Book of Proceedings