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Stats anxiety!. CanCorr example. SA Background. Stats Anxiety (SA) experienced by as much as 80% of grad students What is it? “The apprehension which occurs when individuals encounter statistics in any form and at any level” Situation-specific

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stats anxiety

Stats anxiety!

CanCorr example

sa background
SA Background
  • Stats Anxiety (SA) experienced by as much as 80% of grad students
  • What is it?
    • “The apprehension which occurs when individuals encounter statistics in any form and at any level”
    • Situation-specific
      • symptoms only emerge at a particular time and in a particular situation–specifically, when learning or applying statistics in a formal setting
  • Severe forms can result in negative outcomes, such as fear, nervousness, panic, and worry*
    • Oh noes!
6 components to SA (Cruise)
    • Worth of statistics
      • student’s perception of the relevance of statistics
    • Interpretation anxiety
      • when a student is faced with making a decision from or interpreting statistical data
    • Test and class anxiety
    • Computational self-concept
      • anxiety experienced when attempting to solve mathematical problems, as well as the student’s perception of her/his ability to do mathematics
    • Fear of asking for help
    • Fear of statistics teachers
      • Meanies!
  • Has been found to be negatively related to course performance (shocking!) but perhaps more importantly, affects understanding and interpretation of the literature (and presumably how they will conduct their own research).
Suggested correlates
    • Ethnicity, math background
    • Can’t do much about that
  • However, SA leads to negative experiences of stat courses, and putting them off well into degree (such that they may have already engaged in research utilizing techniques they are not familiar with)
procrastination background
Procrastination Background
  • Experienced by 95%!! of college students
  • What is it??
    • purposive and needless delay in beginning or completing tasks
  • Reasons
    • Fear of failure
      • Related to evaluation anxiety and overly perfectionistic standards for one’s performance, and low self-confidence
    • Task aversiveness
      • Related to a dislike of engaging in academic activities and a lack of energy.
    • Perhaps reflect two different kinds of people (Solomon and Rothblum, 1984)
2 reasons for study
  • Examine pervasiveness of procrastination in grad students
    • You guys don’t do that right?
  • Examine the relationship b/t procrastination and SA
  • Specifically, as academic procrastination has been related positively to generalized and specific kinds of anxiety in the past (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984; Rothblum et al.,1986), it was hypothesized that academic procrastination would be positively related the 6 dimensions of SA
  • Participants
    • 135 grad students in educational disciplines
    • 93% female
      • No sex diffs on gpa, procrastination or SA found through nonparametric t-tests
      • But also lacks power to find one due to such discrepant sample sizes
  • STARS (for examining SA)
  • PASS (for procrastination)
    • Statistical Anxiety Rating Scale
    • Cruise and Wilkins (1980)
    • 51-item, 5-point Likert-format instrument assessing statistics anxiety on the six dimensions of worth of statistics , interpretation anxiety, test and class anxiety, computational self-concept, fear of asking for help, fear of statistics teachers
    • Higher scores = more anxiety
  • Reliability- 95% CIs on alpha
    • WoS: .95, .97
    • IA: .87, .92
    • T&C: .85, .91
    • CSC: .82, .89
    • Ask: .75, .86
    • Teach: .78, .87
  • Typically desire around .8, and almost all the lower limits are above that so looking good.
  • PASS
    • Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students
    • Solomon and Rothblum (1984)
  • Two parts
  • Part 1
    • The first part lists six academic tasks involving writing a term paper, studying for examinations, keeping up with weekly reading assignments, performing administrative tasks, attending meetings, and performing academic tasks in general.
    • Complete three rating scales for each of the six tasks indicating the a) frequency with which they procrastinate on that task (1Never procrastinate; 5Always procrastinate), b) whether their procrastination on the task is a problem (1Not at all a problem; 5Always a problem), and c) whether they want to decrease their procrastination on the task (1Do not want to decrease; 5Definitely want to decrease).
    • Items pertaining to (a) the frequency with which respondents procrastinate on a task, and (b) whether their procrastination on that task is a problem were summed to provide an overall measure of academic procrastination, with total scores ranging from 12 to 60. Higher scores indicate academic procrastination.
Part 2
    • Asks students to think of the last time they procrastinated on writing a term paper and to indicate how much each of 26 reasons reflects why they procrastinated (1Not at all reflects why I procrastinated; 5Definitely reflects why I procrastinated).
    • Items reflect the 2 dimensions of fear of failure and aversiveness
  • Reliability- 95% CIs on alpha
  • Part 1 Overall procrastination .80, .88
  • FoF: 82, .89
  • Aver: .68, .82*
results procrastination
Results- Procrastination
  • Mean for procrastination among grad students actually a point higher than the psych undergrads from the original study
  • Question: Unclear how the FoF and TA scores are constructed from the 26 questions
  • 41.7% of the graduate students reported that they nearly always or always procrastinate on writing a term paper
  • 39.3% procrastinate on studying for examinations
  • 60.0% procrastinate on keeping up with weekly reading assignments.
  • Slackers!
  • 23.7% reported that it was nearly always or always a problem when writing a term paper
  • 21.5% reported that this was a problem when studying for examinations
  • 41.5% indicated that it was a problem when undertaking weekly readings
results sa
Results- SA
  • Looks like worth and interpretation highest
  • Asking help and fear of instructor lowest
  • MPRES compares where the median for this group was compared to those in original study*
    • It is Cohen’s U3 measure of effect size
  • Variable sets
    • SA: scores on 6 dimensions
    • Procrastination: scores for Fear of failure and Task aversiveness
    •  2 canonical correlations
  • Canonical analysis revealed that both canonical correlations combined were statistically significant (F [12, 254] = 3.84, p < .05)
  • When the first canonical root was excluded, the remaining canonical root was not statistically significant.
  • “These results suggest that the first canonical function was statistically significant, but the second canonical root was not statistically significant. However, because the calculated probabilities are sensitive to sample size, particular attention should be paid to the educational (practical) significance of the obtained results (Thompson, 1984).”
  • Rc1 = .26 ‘moderately educationally significant’
    • contributing 6.8% (i.e. Rc12) to the shared variance
Standardized coefficients and structure coefficients (loadings) and their squared values
  • Loadings suggest variates are capturing the variance in the original variables
    • E.g. Adequacy coefficient for Procrastination measures = (.764 + .593)/2 = 68%
For SA, largest loadings come from worth of stats, fear of asking help and fear of instructor…
  • Boo!
  • 1st Goal: What’s going on with grad students as far as procrastination?
    • “Findings revealed that from approximately 40% to 60% of the graduate students reported that they nearly always or always procrastinate on writing a term paper, studying for examinations, and keeping up with weekly reading assignments. Additionally, between 20% and 45% of graduate students reported problems with procrastination in these three areas. Furthermore, between 65% and 75% of the students wanted to decrease their procrastination on these tasks.”
  • You people are slackers and you know it!
  • “An extremely disturbing finding is that a larger proportion of students in the present study than in the undergraduate norm group reported that they nearly always or always procrastinate on studying for examinations and on weekly reading assignments. These results are extremely surprising, bearing in mind that graduate students tend to represent the upper echelon of academic achievers.”
  • 2nd goal: Is there a relationship between SA and procrastination?
  • Yes, but not an overwhelming one.
  • Not sure about the causal arrow, perhaps a bidirectional relationship exists
  • Maybe that SA  procrastination  more SA  more procrastination
    • For some students it stems from a fear of failure, for others, task aversiveness is the driving force
  • Generalizability concerns include gender, ethnicity, type of student (education)
    • Mostly caucasian gals here, and sex and ethnicity differences in anxiety have been reported elsewhere
  • Future research should include a more diverse sample
Practical implications, some suggestions
  • Instructors should do what they can to help students reduce procrastination
    • Break up projects over time
    • Assign article reviews (written or oral)
    • From MC*
      • Stress the conceptual level rather than mathematical details (helps with stats worth and comp self-concept)
      • Take failure out of the equation (helps with all anxiety issues and FOF)
        • Focus on learning rather than evaluation
      • Be approachable/available (helps with fear of help and instructor)
  • Students
    • High procrastinators should perhaps seek outside help
    • All: if really want to reduce then take steps to do so