Directional relations between test-related emotions and student engagement

LAURA NICHOLSON, David Putwain, Gulsah Kutuk

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Objectives: Achievement emotions are emotions that are associated with achievement activities and outcomes. It is established that the emotions that students feel in class are important for their motivation, learning and achievement. Regarding emotions about tests, while research has confirmed that test anxiety is related to lower student achievement, other test emotions have not been extensively investigated. In the present study, we offer a robust investigation of the relations between four major prospective test emotions regarding a forthcoming high-stakes test and student engagement in class, which is the key precursor to academic achievement.
Design: This study used a cross-lagged panel design to probe directional relationships between four test emotions (anticipatory joy, hope, anxiety and hopelessness) and student engagement.
Methods: Self-reported data were collected from 1,481 students, aged 14-16 years, at two time points over the final two years of secondary education. Via questionnaires, students were asked about their emotions pertaining to their upcoming GCSE mathematics exam and their engagement in their GCSE mathematics class.
Results: After controlling for autoregressive and concurrent correlations, as well as student demographics and previous achievement, the model fit the data well and several cross-lagged paths emerged as statistically significant.
Conclusions: The rigorous design of this study established the direction of effects between how students feel about a high-stakes test and how they engage in class. Findings highlight the importance of student test-related emotions. Implications for educational practice will be discussed in terms of directing efforts to increase positive emotions and student engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2023
EventBPS Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference - Liverpool, UK
Duration: 13 Sept 202314 Sept 2023


ConferenceBPS Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference


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