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Samirranjan Adhikari* Abstract
Perspectives: Test anxiety is a set of phenomenological, physiological and behavioural responses aroused as an apprehension the possible negative consequences of impending failure on an examination or similar evaluative situation. There are much empirical evidences that show the relationship among physical activity, psychological wellbeing and anxiety reduction. In physical education teacher training curriculum there is ample scope of rigorous physical activity as well as educational and mental exercise; so the main goal of the present study was to ascertain the impact of this training on reduction of test anxiety. Method: This one was a longitudinal study carried out through quasi-experimental research design. A sample of 108 B.P.Ed students (40 female & 68 male) was chosen from different teacher education institutions of West Bengal by stratified random sampling technique. FRIEDBEN Test Anxiety Scale was administered on the sample in three different phases – at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the session. Results: From the Paired Samples “t” - test it was observed that the mean of the FTAS scores remained statistically unchanged from the 1st phase (M = 65.59) to the 2nd phase of testing (M = 66.00), but there was statistically significant decrease in the 3 rd phase of testing (M = 62.89). Conclusions: Physical education teacher training programme (B.P.Ed.) may have positive impact on reduction of test anxiety. Rigorous and prolonged physical activity in this programme may be the cause of this reduction. Key Words: Anxiety, Test Anxiety, quasi-experimental research design

Bhaskar Chakraborty†


Perspective of the Study Millions of people in the world become affected by the psychological problems due to

depression and anxiety. It has a relationship with death increase and health services expenses (Anonymous, 1978). In Persian the meaning of anxiety is restlessness and confusion (Amid, 1981). As per most psychological texts, it is also synonymous with words such as stress and excitement (Kyamrz & Nori Neshat, 1993). Depression is a state of mood which is defined according to the feeling of incapability, hopelessness, decrease in action or reaction, pessimism, sadness and some other feelings (Nourbakhsh, 2004). Depression is also a natural response to life pressure such as unsuccessful in education or losing a job. All these situations of life pressure lead to depression (Peluso, et al, 2005).

Assistant Professor in Psychology, Shimurali Sachinandan College of Education, Shimurali, Nadia, West Bengal, India Tel.:09231612366, † Research Scholar, Department of Physical Education, University of Kalyani, Kalyani, Nadia, West Bengal, India.

Paper presented to the “National Seminar on Modern Trends in Physical Education and sports Science” orgamized by Department of Physical Education, University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India November 25-26, 2010.

In fact, anxiety is a kind of independent excitement. Anxiety is accompanied by a bad feeling of in security and consequently some bodily changes take place. Depression may be caused due to deep anxiety and tension. Anxiety and depression have both psychological and biological reactions. Test anxiety, a special kind of anxiety, as a scientific construct refers to the set of phenomenological, physiological and behavioural responses that accompany concern about possible negative consequences or failure of an examination or a similar evaluative situation (Sieber et al, 1977). Test anxiety is a serious problem for many student populations. Many students, at one time or another, have to deal with a kind of anxiety which may be called as test anxiety. This is an anxiety that affects a test taker before, during or after a test. Test anxiety can also be experienced at varying levels. Slight examination stress can help a test giver by providing alertness, readiness and help him to concentrate on the study. But, excessive examination anxiety can result in stress and negatively affect performance. Test anxiety among students has been negatively associated with test performance, achievement of degrees and selection of occupation (Topp, 1989). Students at all levels who suffer from test anxiety choose and pursue careers which involve infrequent evaluation and, which consequently, may not fully challenge their cognitive abilities (Krohne and Laux, 1982). A particularly low response threshold for anxiety in evaluative situation characterizes test anxious students. As a result, they tend to react with threat perceptions, reduce feelings of selfefficacy, self-derogatory conditions; anticipatory failure attributions and more intense emotional reactions and arousal at the very first sign of failure. Test-anxious behaviour is typically evoked when a person believes that his/her intellectual, motivational and social capabilities are affected by the test situation (Sarason and Sarason, 1990). Just like other types of anxiety, test anxiety also tends to occur like a wave – at the time of first recognition it increases, then comes to peak from and finally it reduces to the minimum. If test-taking anxiety persists for long it becomes problematic. There are two types of test anxiety – one is anticipatory anxiety and the other is situational anxiety. Anticipatory anxiety refers to distressed experience while a person is in the process of preparation for an examination. Thinking about the impending result the person becomes anxious. This may cause it almost impossible to concentrate on the study and to keep the facts to memory. Again situational anxiety occurs while one faces a test or assessment like an


oral examination or performance test. These may cause physical distress, emotional upset, and concentration difficulties. Consequently, all of the responses affect the performance. Anxiety is mind or body’s natural response to a threat. Actually at the time of threat body triggers a number of physical and mental reactions. These reactions can be organized into three categories. Each category is connected to the others. Anything that can be done to lessen one reaction will lessen the impact of the other two categories. There are three categories of reactions are Physical (somatic), Emotional and Mental (cognitive) Physical (somatic) reaction is the easiest place to start. Both the person concern suffering from test anxiety and others around him can observe these symptoms. Common physical responses to test anxiety are (a) Changes in body temperature, (b) Breathing problems (tightness in chest, breathing too quickly), (c) Muscular responses (stiffness in muscles), (d) Abdominal problems (an upset stomach, feeling queasy, nausea), (e) Headache/sensory responses (dizziness, light headedness, blurred vision), (f) Cardiovascular reactions (palpitations or tightness in chest, an increase in blood pressure) etc. There are many other anxiety related physical symptoms of test anxiety. These include skin rashes, changes in eating patterns (eating too much or too little), an increase or decrease in activity level, sleep disorders (insomnia, nightmares, or in severe cases of phobia, night terrors). Emotional responses can include (a) Mood changes, (b) Emotionally unstable responses, (c) Feelings of losing control etc. These emotional factors can override other bodily functions and can easily lead a student to avoid a task completely due to an obsessive-compulsive reaction or a panic attack or a full-fledged phobia. Mental (cognitive) responses to test anxiety include (a) Irrational thinking, (b) Feelings of failure or rejection, (c) Forgetfulness and memory loss, (d) Loss of concentration and focus etc. These symptoms are due to negative thinking (fear of impending failure) rather than positive thinking (hope for success) and take control of the brain. 1.1 Physical Activities in Anxiety Management Physical activities, more specifically physical exercises, have positive impact on decreasing anxiety and depression. Participating in physical activities initiates a feeling of wellbeing and good mental health. According to the opinion of the psychologists, physical energy effects on mental energy (Garachidagi, et al, 1993). Anderson et al (1997) conducted a study to ascertain the effect of physical exercise on depressed patient. The experimental group participated in a 24-week programme of exercise. The 3

result shows that the experimental group had a “decreased or low score depression” in comparison with the controlled group. Wyshak (2001) also reported that physical exercises had decreased depression and other mental problems of university women students. Respiratory exercises for two times in a week, each time for 25 to 30 minutes, for 10 weeks caused fitness of body and decrease depression and anxiety of depressed, anxious and aggressive persons (Norris, et al 1999). Gerra et al (2000) reported that aerobic exercises have anti-depressive and anti-anxiety effects. 1.2 Physical Education Physical education is an important educational process that has as its aim the improvement of human performance and enhancement of human development through the medium of physical activities to realize this out come. It is a vital element in a comprehensive well balanced curriculum and can be a major contributing factor in the development of an individual in all aspects of life: physical, emotional, mental and social. Physical education with its wide varied rich store of activities and its contributions towards attainment of the desires human objectives, has found the rightful place in the world of education. Teachers training courses in physical education i.e. B.P.Ed. is an intensive training course in physical education. Both pedagogical and physical activities are included in the curriculum of B.P.Ed. course. The impact of this course on the development of some psychological and physical characteristics has been studied earlier by several researchers (Adhikari, 2008; 2010 and 2010a). 1.3 Objective of the study We know it very well that B. P. Ed. Course (one-year teachers training programme in Physical Education) has tremendous impact on physical and psychological development of the prospective teachers in Physical Education. However, related literature reveals that there are only a few studies to probe into the effect of B. P. Ed. Course on psychosomatic development on scientific footing. The present study is designed to explore the impact of B. P. Ed. Course on the management of test anxiety.



Method The present study was longitudinal in nature.

It was carried out through quasi-

experimental research design. The details regarding sample, tools, procedure of data collection and statistical technique are reported as under: 2.1 Participants Colleges and University Departments, imparting B.P.Ed. course in West Bengal were our

source of sample. Total sample size of the present study was 108 B.P.Ed students (40 female & 68 male). Stratified Random Sampling Technique was adopted in drawing sample. Only Bengali speaking subjects were taken. 2.2 Research Tool Friedben Test Anxiety Scale (FTAS) (Freidman and Bendas-Jacob, 1997) was taken as the tool to collect data. This FTAS consists of 23 items designed to measure test anxiety. Each item is a statement relating to testing. Subjects respond to the statements by indicating the degree to which the statement describes them, using a scale that ranges from 1 (the statement does not characterize the subject at all) to 5 (the statement characterize the subject perfectly). There are three sub-scales in the FTAS – (a) Social Derogation: The subject’s apprehension of what people would say if they learn about his / her failure. (b) Cognitive Obstruction: This refers to the student not being able to perform adequately during a test, being unable to organize thoughts in an orderly fashion, or being unable to operate intelligently in that test situation. (c) 2.3 Tenseness: This is the student’s sense of nervousness before or during a test.

Procedure “FTAS” was administered on the subjects in three different phases during an academic

session and the responses were scored as per scoring procedure, prescribed in the manual. The tool was administered in three phases – a) In the first phase, the test was administered at the beginning of the B.P.Ed. course (in the 1st week of July); b) In the second phase the same test was administered in the middle of the course; and c) In the final phase, the same test was administered at the completion of the course (i.e. before study leave).



Statistical Analysis Paired Samples “t” - test was done with the help of SPSS 13.0 software.


Results Result of the present investigation is furnished in the following tables. From the Tables –

1 & 3 we can observe that mean of the FTAS scores of the B.P.Ed. students decreased significantly as the course was advanced towards the completion. The mean of the FTAS scores in the 1st phase of testing was 65.59, in the 2nd phase of testing was 66.00 and in the 3rd phase of testing was 62.89. From Table – 2 we observe that the coefficients correlations between the FTAS scores in the 1st & 2nd phase of testing was 0.591, between the 2nd & 3rd phase of testing was 0.598 and between the 1st & 3rd phase of testing was 0.605. All correlations are highly statistical significance. Table – 1: Showing Paired Samples Statistics Variable Pair 1 Anxiety1 Anxiety2 Pair 2 Anxiety2 Anxiety3 Pair 3 Anxiety1 Anxiety3 Mean 65.59 66.00 66.00 62.89 65.59 62.89 N 108 108 108 108 108 108 Std. Deviation 13.30 10.82 10.82 12.68 13.30 12.68 Std. Error Mean 1.28 1.04 1.04 1.22 1.28 1.22

Anxiety1: Score on FTAS in first phase of testing Anxiety2: Score on FTAS in second phase of testing Anxiety3: Score on FTAS in third phase of testing Table – 2: Showing Paired Samples Correlations Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Variable Anxiety1 & Anxiety2 Anxiety2 & Anxiety3 Anxiety1 & Anxiety3 N 108 108 108 Correlation 0.591 0.598 0.605 Sig. .000 .000 .000

Table – 3: Showing Paired Samples Test Variable Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Anxiety1 - Anxiety2 Anxiety2 – Anxiety3 Anxiety1 – Anxiety3 Paired Differences Mean Std. Deviation -0.41 11.14 3.11 10.66 2.70 11.56 t -0.380 3.033 2.431 df 107 107 107 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.705 0.003 0.017



Discussion and Conclusion In the first phase, the test was administered at the beginning of the B.P.Ed. course (in the

1st week of July) the scores on the Friedben Test Anxiety Scale (FTAS) actually exhibited the entry behaviour. After some time of running of the course in the second phase the same test was administered. No statistically significant difference was observed between the mean scores obtained in the two different phases of administration. Actually, the students of this physical education course come from several backgrounds to a new type of education. At first they tried to be accustomed with the curricular activities (both rigorous physical activities in the playground and class room activities at the same time). So situational anxiety might be higher and this may be the cause of non-change (rather slight increase). In the final phase, the same test was administered at the completion of the course. The mean of the test scores was significantly (statistically) lower than the previous means. Here the impact of the B.P.Ed. course on management of test anxiety may lie actually.

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