This page will be tailored toward introductory STEM instructors considering running this experiment in their courses. We will answer common questions below about what it actually takes to run the experiment and what we think you, and your students, will get out of it. Please reach out to the Contacts listed on the side for any questions about this project.




JD Walker



Sehoya Cotner



Allison Godwin



What is the Tests Are Stupid: Anxiety Matters Project?

This project will test the hypothesis that test anxiety explains part of the performance gap between under-represented students in introductory STEM courses and their well-represented counterparts. To do this, the team will proceed in three stages. First, they will use existing data to determine whether a performance gap exists between different groups of students in targeted classes – for example, between different genders, between URM and non-URM students, or between first-generation and non-first-generation students. If a performance gap is found, the team will move to stage two, which consists of administering a test anxiety measure in the targeted classes that uses four validated questions from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). If they find that there is a group-specific effect of test anxiety on class performance, then the team will move to step three. In this part of the project, the team will design and implement intervention(s) to mitigate the effects of test anxiety on students’ academic outcomes.

Common Questions from Instructors

1. What do faculty need to know to participate?


2. What will faculty (or their students) gain?


3. What are the steps involved in this project?


4. What are the expected control and treatment groups? Is there flexibility in this if faculty cannot run the project exactly as defined?


5. How will information be communicated to people who have expressed interest in the project?