Student anxiety in standards-based grading in mathematics courses

Published in Innovative Higher Education, 2020

Recommended citation:

D. Lewis, Student anxiety in standards-based grading in mathematics courses. Innovative Higher Education, 45 (2020). 153-164.


This paper describes a study examining how mathematics anxiety, test anxiety, and communication apprehension are related to student behavior in courses using standards-based grading. An observational study of mathematics courses with 221 participants found that test anxiety increased over the semester although many students reported lower stress or anxiety in an open-ended survey question. Mathematics anxiety and test anxiety were positively correlated with the number of voluntary reassessments students attempted, while communication apprehension was negatively correlated. These findings indicate that standards-based grading is an assessment framework that can provide alternate methods for some students to demonstrate content mastery. While this study was conducted in mathematics courses, the findings on test anxiety are likely to extend to other disciplines.

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