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Title: An exploration of school staff experiences working with children who display test anxiety
Author: Zacharaki, O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 9500
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2018
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Test anxiety is relevant to many schools and local authorities. Schools are evaluated in terms of performance by test/exam outcomes and their position in league tables. This has resulted in an increased focus on test results and data. This research examines school staff experiences supporting children with test anxiety and strategies they find useful; how competent they feel in supporting them; what would help build their confidence and understanding of test anxiety; and how EPs can help them to support children with test anxiety. Current literature acknowledges the detrimental impact that test anxiety can have on children, however most of the research has been conducted with secondary school and university students. Furthermore, limited research explores the views of school staff. Much of the aforementioned research employed quantitative techniques and thus school staff experiences of test anxiety has not been explored. A social constructionist paradigm was adopted. To enable a deeper perspective of the phenomena, a qualitative research design was used. Fifteen school staff were selected from three primary schools within the same LA. Semi-structured interviews were used and the recordings were analysed using Thematic Analysis. The findings highlighted the detrimental impact test anxiety has on school staff and children and the high levels of pressure they experience. Barriers and strategies to identify and support children with test anxiety were recognised. There were mixed views on how competent school staff feel supporting children with test anxiety; it was highlighted that teacher training courses do not adequately prepare teachers to deal with mental health issues and test anxiety. School staff would like to see greater collaboration, and further support from the local authority, particularly in terms of funding and changing the narrative around testing. School staff had positive experiences working with EPs to support children with test anxiety although at times key adults were not included in meetings due to school demands. It was argued that school staff prioritise cognitive difficulties and statutory assessments over test anxiety for EP involvement. Areas were identified in terms of support school staff would like from EPs in order to support children with test anxiety.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral