Achievement goals and high-stakes test anxiety in Standard 5 students in Trinidad




Hunte, Melissa

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The Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA), a high-stakes exam mandatory for all Standard 5 students in Trinidad and Tobago, is posited to be anxiety inducing. The purpose of this correlational research was to examine the relationships among the psychological constructs of the achievement goal theory, and students’ test anxiety. The study specifically looked at whether relationships exist among students’ (n= 215) perceptions of their parents’, teachers’, and classroom goals; their own achievement goals; and their cognitive anxiety about the SEA. The results revealed that students’ personal achievement goals were not associated with SEA cognitive anxiety, but their perceptions of parents’, teachers’, and classroom goals were significantly associated. Perceived avoidance goal messages from peers were also significantly associated with students’ cognitive anxiety, and with tendencies to avoid displaying normative incompetence or failure. Results from this study can be useful for future research in the area of social and emotional learning in Trinidad and Tobago by investigating the effect increased social awareness, through empathy development, has on reducing students’ test anxiety and improving task-engagement, peer relationships, and general academic performance.



Test anxiety, Achievement goals, Motivation, Grade 6, Children, Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad, Elementary