Test anxiety is an unpleasant state characterized by feelings of tension, apprehension, worrisome thoughts and the activation of the autonomic nervous system when an individual faces evaluative achievement-demanding situation. It is the uneasiness felt by students who had fear of failing an examination and/or test taking. This leads to hyper-arousal conditions that result in the physiological, emotional and intellectual changes that prevent the use of previously learned information during test-taking or examination. Test is one of the main methods of assessment in schools at all levels, and it is part of students’ life. Personality type is the psychological classification of different types of individuals which, brings about the differences in people. The purpose of this study was to determine personality types as correlate of test anxiety among university-based and hospital-based nursing students in selected nursing schools in Enugu Urban. Descriptive correlational design was used for the study. Two hundred and eight (208) nursing students participated in the study. One hundred and fifty (150) from the Department of Nursing Sciences, UNEC and fifty eight (58) from School of Nursing University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. Instrument for data collection were Test Anxiety Inventory, (TAI) and Big Five Personality Inventory (BFPI) Data was collated and analyzed with the aid of the computer statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 19.0 using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (r) and Chi square (X2) There was no sampling done as all the final year nursing students were used for the study. Results of the research findings revealed that there was no significant relationship between personality types and test anxiety of male nursing students (0.277, P > 0.05) hence the Ho is accepted. Also, there is no significant relationship between Openness, Extraversion and Agreeableness personality types and test anxiety of female nursing students (P>0.05).Therefore, the Ho is accepted too. However, there is significant negative relationship between conscientiousness and test anxiety of female nursing students (r= -0346, P<0.05) which implies that the more conscientious the female nursing students are, the less their test anxiety and higher performance in test taking. Also, there is significant positive relationship between neuroticism and test anxiety of female nursing students (r= 0.359, P<0.05)of university-based and hospital-based nursing students which means that the more neurotic the female nursing students are, the more their test anxiety and low performance in test taking hence the Ho is rejected. It is recommended that coping strategies to reduce test anxiety should be included in nursing programmes/curriculum assist students who show symptoms of test anxiety.
Background to the Study
Test anxiety is an unpleasant state characterized by feelings of tension and apprehension, worrisome thoughts and the activation of the autonomic nervous system when an individual faces evaluative achievement-demanding situations (Tuncay, & Ergene, 2012). It is the hyper-arousal condition that results in physiological, emotional and intellectual changes that prevent the effective use of the previously learned information while taking an examination. Test anxiety is a non-specific trait that refers to the anxiety state and worry conditions experienced during examination (Ndirangu, Muola, Kithuka & Nassiuma, 2009).
Test or examination is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s achievement, knowledge, skill, aptitude or physical fitness. It is one of the main methods of assessment in schools at all levels (Woolfolk, 2009). Test taking is part of students’ life. However, it has been observed that some students are so fearful of tests or other forms of examination such that many students develop test anxiety towards examination. The level of test anxiety can fluctuate over time in an individual in response to different types of tests or examination. An individual, in response to both internal and external stimulation exhibit some observable behaviours such as perspiration, excessive movement, and questioning of instructions, sweaty palms and muscle tension during testing situations. Also, there may be disruption or disorganization of effective problem solving and cognitive control of the student including difficulty in thinking clearly (Freidman & Benda -Jacob, 2007).
According to Ohman (2000), test anxiety involves a physiological over arousal, worry and dread about test performance which often interferes with normal learning and lowers test
performance. Harris and Coy (2005) stated that test anxiety and other deficits related to test anxiety interfere with academic performance. A study conducted by Cassady and Johnson (2002), on cognitive test anxiety of undergraduate students in Kuwait and United States of America showed that students with high level of anxiety have low academic performance. The students perform poorly not only in the regular class setting but also on achievement and aptitude tests (Fiore, 2003). Test anxiety is believed to be the trait that predisposes students to react negatively to examinations and tests (Keogh and Steven, 2010).
Test anxiety according to Spielberger (1979) and Eubank (1993), consists of two major components: worry and emotionality. Worry is an unpleasant thought or concern about things that might happen or problems that one may have which includes personal thoughts regarding poor test performance, ultimate course or academic failure (Fiore, 2003). Emotionality, on the other hand describes the unpleasant autonomic responses such as fear, panic, tension, increased heart and respiratory rates, muscle tension, sweaty palms, etc (Slade & Francis 2009). Emotionality tends to peak immediately before a test, and falls off rapidly when the test is concluded. Furthermore, emotionality is not related to performance expectancy but worry is related to performance expectancy, and tends to be fairly constant across time (Leibert & Morris, 1967 in Onyeizugbo, 2010).
Worry impairs performance by reducing the amount of working memory available, such that task performance is seriously impaired. While test-anxious individuals must put in more effort to achieve the same satisfactory levels of performance as their non-test anxious counterparts, they have the capability of performing well when their worry is contained. Of the two components of test anxiety, worry has been found to contribute more to test anxiety and poor performance (Keogh et al., 2004). According to Chinta (2005), students with high test anxiety respond to test or examination with intense emotional reactions and negative self-
thought that impair performance leading to lower grades and result in high dropout rates of students. On the other hand, students with low levels of anxiety maintain their focus throughout information processing and retrieval; because there is few or no cognitive deficiency and the students persist in doing the task and perform well during examination and achievement test (Onyeizugbo, 2010).
Gender is a range of characteristics distinguishing between male and female, particularly in the cases of men and women, boys and girls; the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. It includes the expectations held about the characteristics, aptitudes and likely behaviours of both women and men (femininity and masculinity). Gender roles and expectations are learned. They can change over time and they vary within and between cultures. Systems of social differentiation such as political status, class, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, age and mores, modify gender roles. (Mishel, 2005).
According to Onyeizugbo (2010), gender could possibly predispose to test anxiety and females have repeatedly been found to report higher levels of overall test anxiety than males (Hembree, 1988; Volkmer & Zeidner, 1990; Feather, 1991; Bandalos et al, 1995). However, there has been little agreement among researchers regarding the locus of these gender differences. Three explanations have dominated thinking on this issue. One explanation for the gender differences in test anxiety is that males and females experience similar levels of test worry, but females have higher levels of the emotionality component, producing higher general test anxiety scores (Deffenbacher, 1980; Mueller, 1980). This proposition received limited support from research, revealing that differences between males’ and females’ reported anxiety levels were greatest in the emotionality component. However, females also consistently report higher levels of cognitive test anxiety than males (Hembree, 1988; Zeidner; 1990).
Gender, according to Onyeizugbo could possibly predict differences in levels of test anxiety. Zeidner (1990) and Kesshler et al (1995) reported that girls significantly have higher test anxiety than boys; whereas Mwamwenda (1993) found no significant gender differences in test anxiety among South African sample.
The personality type of an individual such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism can predispose to test anxiety hence gender and personality type of an individual in an examination or during test taking will positively or negatively affect test result based on the level of anxiety experienced (Bishop, 2006).
Research has shown that test anxious personalities respond to examination stress with emotional reactions and negative self-centered motivation and concentration (Zeisset, 2006).
Ejemezue (2011), in his study found that students with high test anxiety respond to examination stress with intense emotional reactions and negative self-centered thoughts that impair academic performance, while those low in test anxiety react with increased motivation and concentration.
From the foregoing therefore, an individual’s gender and personality type could pose a possible interaction effect in an individual during test taking which may or may not lead to test anxiety. This has therefore stimulated the researcher’s interest to study gender and personality types as correlates of test anxiety.
Statement of Problem
Test anxiety can be a devastating problem for many College and University students because; it may impair performance and well being in the long run (Dusek, 2009). According to King (2008), moderate levels of test anxiety may enhance a student’s performance, while higher levels tend to interfere with the student’s optimal performance. Findings from several
researchers (Schultz; Di Stefano; Benson & Davis, 2004; Brijesh & Yogesh, 2008) have shown that the affective reactions of students to achievement testing as an integral part of educational system are becoming pronounced.
The researcher as a teacher has observed that some students under test conditions are restless, anxious looking, and display some behaviour or bodily reactions such as knocking on their seats with pen, bite the pen, move excessively on their seats, sweat profusely, shiver, go out several times to urinate, giraffe and ask many questions on the test instructions during examination or test taking. These students find it difficult to concentrate on their papers to write, probably because they cannot remember what they have read.
Besides, many students have approached the researcher over the years for advice and counselling concerning their academic performance. From what they confided in me; some said “I studied and prepared very well for this examination, but as soon as I was given the question paper, I could no more remember what I have read”. “I felt funny as soon as examination started as if something is blocking my airway or I am being chocked” while others complained of poor memory during examination but after writing the much they could remember, at the end of the examination, they remember those things they forgot in the examination hall. Others complained of poor muscle coordination while writing and this led to their writing very slowly, because of sluggish hand movement during examination which made them not to attempt all the questions. Furthermore, the complaint of going blank, total confusion resulted in severe nervousness that they could not concentrate and resulted in their writing out of point. All these depict symptoms of test anxiety. The students who make such complaints most often begin by saying “I failed this exam because of the problem I had”. “In fact, I don’t know what is wrong with me? Please I want you to advise me on what to do”.
However, some students do not display any signs of anxiety, restlessness or agitation during examinations. They remain calm and well comported during examination or test taking.
Based on the above observations, the researcher wonders why some students have these problems while some others do not have them. Is it because one is a male or female? Or, is it as a result of the personality type or traits one possesses. This aroused the researcher’s interest to investigate the relationship between gender, personality types and test anxiety. Also, there is a paucity of knowledge in nursing literature on the relationship between gender, personality types and test anxiety among nursing students. The present study will fill this gap.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of study was to investigate personality types as correlate of test anxiety among University-based and hospital-based nursing students in selected nursing schools in Enugu urban.
Objectives of the Study
1. To determine the personality types of nursing students as measured by the Big Five personality Inventory ((BFPI)
(b) To determine personality types according to programme (university-based and hospital-based nursing students)
(c)To determine gender differences in personality types of nursing students (male and female)
2. To determine test anxiety level of nursing students as measured by Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI).
(b) To determine test anxiety level according to programme (university-based and hospital- based)
(c) To determine test anxiety level according to gender (anxiety level = mild, moderate and severe)
3. To determine the relationship between personality types, and test anxiety levels of nursing students.
Ho1 There will be no significant relationship between personality types and test anxiety level of nursing students
Ho2: There will be no significant relationship between personality types and test anxiety level of University-based nursing students.
Ho3: There will be no significant relationship between personality types and test anxiety level of hospital- based nursing students.
Ho4: There will be no significant relationship between personality types and test anxiety level of male nursing students
Ho5: There will be no significant relationship between, personality types and test anxiety level of female nursing students.
Ho6: There will be no significant relationship in test anxiety level between male and female nursing students.
Ho7: There will be no significant relationship in test anxiety level between University-based hospital-based nursing students.
Significance of Study
The present study of personality types and test anxiety will in no doubt make important contributions to area of study.
Findings from this study will reveal the personality types or profile of the nursing students. This finding will help nurse educators and other lecturers to understand student’s behaviour based on the personality traits they exhibit and which enable the nurse educators know how to handle the students to learn maximally, hence reducing test anxiety.
Findings will reveal test anxiety levels of nursing students. This finding will also help nurse educators, clinical instructors, clinical supervisors, mentors and preceptors to review method of teaching/techniques that will help reduce test anxiety and increase high performance in test taking.
Findings will also reveal the relationship between personality types and test anxiety of nursing students. This finding will reveal whether personality types have positive or negative relationship with test anxiety. Depending on the relationship of personality types and test anxiety, appropriate recommendations will be made following data analysis.
Furthermore, findings will show the relationship gender of and test anxiety. This will reveal whether masculinity and femininity have positive or negative relationship with test anxiety and appropriate measures will be recommended based on the result following data analysis.
If the findings and recommendations are put into use, it will help teachers and counsellors develop appropriate counseling packages for effective handling of students with test anxiety with the aim of reducing it to the barest minimum.
Finally, findings will provide basis for further researches.