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What are thehe Effects of Test-based Learning, Self-efficacy, and Anxiety on Academic Performance?
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There is a growing body of literature that highlights how test anxiety and academic self-efficacy impacts academic performance. In this context, the role of test-based learning as a teaching method is also well examined in scholarly works. Chappel et al. (2005) define test anxiety as a collection of phenomenological, physiological and behavioural responses that predicts negative consequences or failure in examinations. Chappel et al. (2005) also highlight that although there is a substantial amount of scholarly works that focus particularly on one aspect of this multidimensional construct, there is hardly any comprehensive attempt that rightly incorporates all the aspects of it. In spite of the unavailability of a comprehensive study, there is a wide-scale consensus in the empirical literature that text anxiety negatively impacts the performance of students. In terms of sex differences, studies show that female students are more likely to have test anxiety over the male counterparts, where the differences start to widen from early elementary schools to middle schools, and mostly tapering off in high schools and in colleges (Hembree, 1988; as cited in Chappel et al., 2005). As opposed to the negative impact of test anxiety on test grades, academic self-efficacy seems to positively impact grades. Academic self-efficacy is defined as a learner's own judgement about his/her capability of attaining important educational goals (Elias & MacDonald, 2007). Elian & MacDonald (2007) state that as found in several research studies, self-efficacy beliefs positively influence a student's academic performance, independent of his or her previous performances. This clearly validates, as a student understands what he or she is expected of, self-efficacy determines success more accurately than past performances of the student. Even academic self-efficacy is found to predict academic performances quite well (Elias & Loomis, 2004; as cited in Elias & MacDonald, 2007). Owing to this, often, it is regarded as a better estimator of intellectual performances over academic skills (Elias & MacDonald, 2007).
As there are factors that positively or negatively impact students' performances, there are avenues to improve academic performances as well. One of the most researched ways is how tests influence students' abilities to retain information and learning. There are several experimental research studies that endeavoured to establish the testing phenomenon (Glover, 1989). Irrespective of these studies, Glover (1989) points out that there is a void in studies that specifically examine the testing phenomenon in an educationally relevant manner. In real-life scenarios, as opposed to taking multiple tests, students tend to use the technique of multiple learning or double-learning (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006). A surprising result found in most studies confirms that as against what is intended, these double-learning strategies are counterproductive and more often than not, students' performances don't improve on a long run (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006). Roediger & Karpicke (2006) also demonstrate that free-recall testing without feedback does have any significant positive impact on retention abilities, whereas, testing with feedbacks, is found to have. Therefore, it can be concluded that the judicious use of testing definitely improves students' performances (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006).