Does academic resilience affect GCSE exam anxiety?

Edge Hill University’s Professor Dave Putwain has published new research in prestigious British Journal of Educational Psychology

Professor Putwain’s latest study, Academically buoyant students are less anxious about and perform better in high-stakes examinations, follows his previous research which found that pupils who worry about their exam performance are more likely to do badly than those who are less anxious.

Professor Dave Putwain said: “The next step in my research was to ascertain whether test anxiety is an antecedent or outcome of academic buoyancy (students’ capacity to successfully overcome setback and challenge that is typical of the ordinary course of everyday academic life) and to discover whether academic buoyancy is related to examination performance. 705 students in their final year of secondary education (Year 11) participated in the study, which required them to self-report data for test anxiety and academic buoyancy.”

Examination performance was taken from the mean English, mathematics and science scores from the high-stakes GCSE exams taken at the end of Year 11.

The study results showed that academic buoyancy protects pupils against viewing exams as threatening by influencing self-regulative processes, and so enables better examination performance.

In turn, worry has a negative effect on academic buoyancy. Tension felt by pupils was also measured, however this did not appear to affect academic buoyancy.

The full article can be viewed here:   

Professor Dave Putwain has conducted extensive research into test anxiety, which could have a long-term impact on how teachers and parents approach pupil’s exam anxiety and consequently lead to a reduction in pupil’s stress levels, overall improving their exam performance.


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