Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



Anxiety interferes with the learning processes and it affects performance in test situations. Yet in today’s test-conscious society, achievement and IQ tests are being used increasingly to evaluate the student, without benefit of information on his anxiety level. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of anxiety on achievement.

The sample population was drawn from the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders of an elementary school in the suburbs of a medium-sized city in the Southwest.

The Lorge Thorndike, Level 3 (Form A) was used to obtain the IQ scores. The Science Research Associated, Type B, (Firms C and D) were used to obtain the achievement scores in sixteen categories of achievement. The Idioms Test prepared by Zintz and his associate at the University of New Mexico was sed to supplement the information on the reading ability of the subjects. Sarason’s General Anxiety Scale For Children was used to obtain anxiety scores.

Pearson’s correlation coefficients between anxiety and all categories of achievement indicated a negative correlation between anxiety and all categories of achievement except spelling. This means that of sixteen achievement categories, spelling is least affected by anxiety. The highest negative correlations at the 1 per cent level of confidence were between anxiety and social studies and between anxiety and arithmetic, with exception of computation. This means that of all achievement categories, social studies and arithmetic were most affected by anxiety. While for reading the scores for the total population, based on the Science Research Associates test showed no significant negative correlation with anxiety, the reading scores based on the Idioms Test reached negative significance at the 5 per cent level of confidence; for boys the negative correlation was at the 1 per cent level of confidence. This means that in reading, anxiety may affect boys more.

The analyses of covariance computed for sixteen achievement categories between high, middle, and low anxiety groups indicated no statistically significant achievement differences between the anxiety groups. Yet substantial evidence for performance differences was found between anxiety groups. The high anxiety group consistently scored highest, in all but four categories of achievement. Spelling was the only category in which the high anxiety group exceeded the mean of both the middle and the low anxiety groups.

Analyses of variance computed for IQ, achievement, and anxiety between ethnic groups and sexes revealed higher anxiety, but lower achievement and IQ for Spanish-Americans; and higher anxiety and higher achievement in spelling, language arts, and reading vocabulary for girls.

Analyses of variance for anxiety between high and low defensive subjects revealed extremely low anxiety for high defensive subjects. This result from their inability to communicate their feelings honestly in the anxiety test. The IQ’s of these two groups showed no significant difference, but the high defensive subjects consistently scored slightly lower in every category of achievement, although an analysis of variance for achievement between these groups failed to reach the 5 per cent level of confidence.

Document Type




Degree Name

Elementary Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Harold Dean Drummond

Second Committee Member

James Gordon Cooper

Third Committee Member

Miles Vernon Zintz