Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Sutton, Rosemary

Subject Headings

Science -- Study and teaching, Web-based instruction, Distance education, Test anxiety, College science, Web-based courses, Test anxiety


Distance learning options at colleges and universities are increasing dramatically (e.g. National Center for Educational Statistics [NCES], 1998 NCES, 2001). Web-based courses create an interesting learning environment for study (e. g., Dupin-Bryant, 2004 Maki and Maki, 2003). Because science is a topic that induces anxiety for many students (e. g., Brownlow, et al., 2000 Greenburg and Mallow, 1982), and test anxiety has been linked to reduced academic performance (e. g., Bruch, 1981 Spielberger, 1979), the intersection of course format, science, and test anxiety is an area in need of research. Quantitative results found no significant difference between age, racial/ethnic background, student status (full-time or part-time), or degree program being pursued between traditional and web-based science courses. Significantly more females, more students employed full-time, and with an external locus of control enrolled in web-based courses. Students in traditional courses experienced more test anxiety due to test-irrelevant thoughts. Traditional students experienced more anxiety in traditional science courses, while nontraditional students experienced more anxiety in web-based science courses. Expected course grade and locus of control predicted test anxiety in traditional courses, and previous web experience, expected grade, and locus of control predicted test anxiety for web-based courses. This study used an explanatory mixed method design. One hundred and seven web-based science students and 110 students enrolled in traditional courses completed a questionnaire regarding demographic and personal factors, the Reduced Reaction to Tests (RTT) (Benson and Bandalos, 1992) and the Locus of Control of Behavior Scale (Craig, Franklin, and Andrews, 1984). Ten students participated in a follow-up interview. Qualitative data indicated that students in both formats expressed opinions regarding course format, studying and test preparation methods, test-taking, communication with instructors in general, and specifically rela

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