Test-taking anxiety has both positive and negative effects on academic performance. Low test-taking anxiety can increase attention and critical thinking, which can enhance academic performance. However, high test-taking anxiety proves to be debilitating to memory and attention, leading to a fear-of-failure and self-preoccupying thoughts, which diminishes academic performance. In combination with test-taking anxiety, motivation and achievement goal orientation exhibited by an individual influences achievement on tasks within academic settings. This study examines how common test-taking anxieties and the administration of a competence threat affects academic performance on a fraction assessment. Participants were asked to complete a set of fractions and to evaluate their own motivations and achievement goals in an academic setting. From the responses, participants were placed into groups based upon their test-taking anxiety level, motivation type, and achievement goal orientation. Results show that when administered a competence threat, individuals tended to be less accurate on the fractions assessment. The results illustrate that individuals who have extreme low test-taking anxiety were less accurate on the fraction assessment compared to those with extreme high test-taking anxiety. Motivation and achievement goal orientation did not affect accuracy on the fraction assessment. Ultimately, this study concludes differing levels of test-taking anxiety truly do have an effect on academic performance, but not in the way that some may anticipate.


Abraham, Ashley




Social and Behavioral Sciences


test-taking anxiety, motivation, achievement goal orientation, fractions, metacognition

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2021 Megan R. Gronau