Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Test Anxiety and Emotional Intelligence among Adolescents

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Test Anxiety and Emotional Intelligence among Adolescents

Article excerpt

According to a U.N. report, adolescents comprise about half of the total world population, constituting the largest generation in human history. Approximately 70 percent of them live in developing countries and 60 per cent in Asia alone (UNFPA, 2005- 2008). In India they account for 20 per cent of the population (Bharath, Kumar, & Mukesh, 2008; UNICEF, 2011). As Adolescence represents a period of "storm and stress" (Hall, 1904) they experience a lot of changes in their life such as rapid physical growth and changes in cognitive and emotional capacities. It is a very difficult time for the adolescence to adjust to these changes happening in their life. They show strong feelings and intense emotions at different times. Their mood might seem unpredictable and hormonal changes occur. This leads to increased conflicts.

Theorists have also described adolescence as a period of sexual excitement and anxiety (Sigmund & Anna Freud), identity crisis (Erikson), cultural relativism (Margaret Mead), dominant value direction (Eduard Spranger), logical and abstract thinking (Piaget), and modelling (Bandura). This biological changes influence their psychological, psychosocial, cognitive, ecological and cultural outlook. During this period, they formulate own thinking patterns, understanding value system of the society and start developing personalities, feel the pressure of expectations from society, adopt theirroles and responsibilities in society, home and schools.

One of the major challenges faced by adolescence during this period is board exams. Zollar and Ben-Chain (1990) argued that, this is an age oftest consciousness. The educational standards of school children in India are primarily evaluated based on written examinations. Every year, the Indian government conducts two board exams, otherwise referred to as public exams, at the end of the 10th (secondary education) and 12th (higher secondary education) grades. Kerala more than 5 lakhs students appeared for SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) examination in 2015 (General Education Department, Govt, of Kerala). The scores obtained in the SSLC are necessary not only to get admission in good higher secondary schools but also to choose the preferred main stream of higher secondary education. Since the number of seats in high quality schools is limited compared to the number of students passing out of the SSLC, competition to get higher secondary admission is always fierce. Students clearing up the 12th board exams leave school and enter University education. Due to guaranteed white collar job prospects, medicine, engineering, and management have been the most preferred choice of higher education by the students and/or their parents. Thus, higher education being a prerequisite for successful future, appearing for SSLC exams has been the source of stress and anxiety for several students. In addition to the struggle to meet their own set values, today's students also have to satisfy the demand of their parents and the society, which adds further stress and anxiety.

Test anxiety is the behavioural changes associated with the feeling of being examined. It is a combination of tension and somatic symptoms along with worry dread and fear of failure during test situations. Test anxiety occurs due to social anxiety, in which fear about scrutiny by parents, teachers, and professors interferes with the ability to perform well in a test. It is a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations. Most ofthe students experience some degree of stress and anxiety before and during exams. Test anxiety prevents one from demonstrating their true potential and lowers test performance (Karatas, Alci, Aydin, 2013). According to Sansgiry and Sail (2006) test anxiety is the reaction to stimuli that are associated with an individual's experience oftesting or evaluative situations. Kirkland and Hollandsworth (1980) define test anxiety as "a constellation of behaviours that have a debilitating effect on academic performance". …

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