Test Anxiety Scales
American Test Anxieties Association


We look here at the benefits and shortcomings of several test anxiety scales:

Spielberger Test Anxiety Inventory 

    Is the most widely used, and therefore the international standard.

    Scores items both positive and negative, so that left and right response bias does not affect the scoring

o     Scale picks up worry, which impairs performance, but also emotionality, better termed physiological arousal, which is only modestly related to impaired performance. 

v    Is licensed to users, and involves a licensing fee.  

View scale. 

See further Information or Purchase the scale 

Westside Test Anxiety Scale (Richard Driscoll)

   Focuses strongly on performance impairments, with 6 of 10 items specifically about performance problems.

  Assesses worry, which impairs performance, but does not dwell on physiological arousal, which is only loosely related to performance. 

   Is quick to administer and easily scored by the students themselves.

   Includes instructions to help students understand their scores.

    Is public access, from AMTAA.ORG, and can be downloaded and used with no charge to your school.   

   Scale changes are found to be closely related to grade changes, suggesting that the scale is a sensitive register of anxiety impairments.  See Validation 

o    Items are all scored positive, making it the scale easy to score but also vulnerable to left and right response bias.  

o   While the scale is relatively new, it does identify about 18% of students as highly anxious, which is the national norm, and it is being used in several ongoing research projects.  

View or download the Westside Scale  

Alpert-Haber 10 item Debilitative Anxiety Scale.  

    One of the first to measures anxiety performance impairments.   

See:  Alpert, R. & Haber, R.N. (1960). Anxiety in academic achievement situations. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 10, 207-215.   

Cassady-Johnson Cognitive Test Anxiety Scale 

  Focuses on the cognitive dimension of test anxiety, which impairs test performance.    

See:  Cassady, J. & Johnson, R.  (2001).  Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 270-295.    

Irwin. G. Sarason Reactions to Tests (RTT) Scale 

   Measures:  Tension; Worry; Test-Irrelevant Thinking; and Bodily Reactions.  
  Is one of the early scales and has been used extensively in research.   
  Is available without charge.  
o   Contains 40 items, providing a thorough assessment but requiring more time to complete.

See Reactions to Tests.   Sarason, I. G. (1984). Stress, anxiety, and cognitive interference:  Reactions to tests. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 46, 929-938. 

We are especially interested in scales which can be used without charge to the schools.  

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