Researches

GRIT AND TEST-ANXIETY OF AGRICULTURE STUDENTS IN  THE UNIVERSITY OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL RECOLETOS

Adelyn Diamante Sia, Ph.D., R.Psy

ABSTRACT

     This is a descriptive-correlational study that sought the relationship between grit and test-anxiety of agriculture students in the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos,  Bacolod City during the 2ndsemester of AY 2017-2018. A total of 49 students out of the 55 students in the department of Agriculture  participated in the study.  The researcher collected data using two standardized instruments: the Short Grit Survey (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), and the Test-Anxiety Inventory by Spielberger  (1980). Results reveal that the grit level of the students when taken as a whole is “somewhat gritty,” but their test-test anxiety level is high.  There is no significant relationship between grit and the variables like year level, sex and school of origin. Conclusions include that the Agriculture students have an average level of grit. When they will be confronted with setbacks or obstacles they may be discouraged to pursue long-term goals.  In addition, their anxiety level is high.  When they face test-situations especially high-stakes tests, they may suffer from inconvenient symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache and a sense of dread. They are recommended to join actively in the two seminar work-shops: Grit Enhancement and Overcoming Test-Anxiety which are the output of this study.

 Keywords:  grit, test-anxiety, Agriculture students, year level, sex, school of origin

 

Chapter 1

Introduction

The world has a food shortage, but there is a dearth of students who take up Agriculture. For instance, when choosing what course to take in college or university, many young people from the developing world avoid   agriculture and agriculture related courses (Liu, 2014). The projections show that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would necessitate raising food production by some 70%. Food production in developing countries would need to almost double (www.fao.org. ).

In the Philippines, for example, a country rich in natural resources, many Filipinos are still hungry.  The Philippines still imports rice and even sugar from other countries.  Young people are not interested in pursuing agriculture and related courses. The researcher observed in the university where she is teaching that students flock in courses like Engineering, Business Information Technology and Education.

Enrollment   in agriculture and related courses continues to go down despite the increasing demand for food and other farm products in the country according to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture SEARCA (Padin, 2015).  A study commissioned by SEARCA revealed   that while enrolment in Agriculture Education has been declining, the demand for Agriculture products such as food, fuel and feeds would continue to increase as Filipinos want sustainable nutrition and safe Agriculture products.  This steady decline poses a serious threat to the country’s food supply.   In addition, Rep. Estrellita Suansing of the First District of Nueva Ecija, authored Resolution 589 that urged the conduct of an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the decreasing number of licensed agriculturists and students pursuing a career in agriculture with the end view of maintaining the country’s rice sufficiency.

With the dearth of enrollees in Agriculture, there is even no guarantee if they will persevere to finish the course.  It is important to know how passionate and persevering these students are; hence, a study of their grit is imperative to conduct. Grit as defined by contemporary psychologist Angela Duckworth (2007) is a combination of passion and endurance to achieve long-term goals. It’s a combination of unshakable motivation, persistence, and determination. Duckworth (2007) even claimed that Grit can be developed. With the findings of the study, support can be done to these students to help them persevere to finish long term goals like agriculture or related courses.

Moreover, one reason why students fail school examinations and even high stakes examinations like licensure examination is test-anxiety. Studies have revealed that test-anxiety may affect test-performance negatively (Basco and Olea, 2015). Often times, the quality of the education a school offers are often based on the percentage of passers in the high stakes examination like board examination.

In addition, grit is a fairly new concept in psychology; hence, there is a dearth of studies on grit in relation to many variables especially in the Philippine setting.  It is imperative then that this study be conducted on these two important variables it. Moreover, the findings of this study will be also the basis for a seminar-workshops on Enhancing Grit and Overcoming Test-Anxiety.

Statement of the Problem: This study sought   to find out the relationship between grit and test-anxiety of Agriculture students in the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos (UNO-R) in Bacolod City.  Specifically, this study sought answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the grit level of the Agriculture students in  UNO-R  when they are taken as a whole, and when they are grouped as to: sex, year level and school of origin?
  2. What is the test-anxiety level of the Agriculture students in UNO-R   when they are taken as a whole, and when they are grouped as to sex, year level and school of origin?
  3. Is there a significant relationship between grit and test anxiety of students?

Scope of the Study: This study determined    the relationship between grit and test anxiety of the Agriculture students in UNO-R in the second semester of AY 2017-2018. It included all students enrolled in the department of Agriculture regardless of the number of units they take. To gather data for the study, the researcher used two standardized questionnaires: The Short Grit Anxiety Survey and the Test-Anxiety Inventory.  Findings of this study served as the basis for the Grit Enhancement and Overcoming Test-Anxiety Seminar Workshops for the agriculture students.

Hypothesis:  There is no significant relationship between grit and test –anxiety of the Agriculture students.

Theoretical Background of the Study

This study is primarily anchored on the grit theory of Angela Duckworth (2007). Grit is a combination of passion and endurance to achieve long-term goals. It is the hallmark for high achievers, and is likewise considered as the success formula. Duckworth has also claimed that grit can grow. It is not talent that makes people become achievers, but it is grit.

In addition, this study is also anchored on Spielberger Trait State Anxiety Theory (1972, 1980). He believed that in situations that are appraised by individuals as threatening an A state reaction is evoked.  Then through sensory and cognitive feedback mechanism a high level of A state will be experienced by the individual as unpleasant.  The intensity of an A state reaction will be commensurate to the amount of threat that the situation poses for the individual will depend upon the persistence of the individual’s interpretation as threatening.  High A trait individuals will perceive the situation or circumstances that involve failure or threats to self-esteem as more threatening than persons who are low in A trait. Elevation in A state have stimulus and drive properties that may be expressed directly on how a person acts or thinks.  The situation perceived as threatening can also encourage the use of defense mechanisms whether consciously or unconsciously as a way of coping with the anxiety. Highly threatening situations that are often met may encourage the individual to develop specific coping responses which are designed to reduce the anxiety state.

Conceptual Framework

In this correlational study, the independent variable is the grit of the agriculture students, while the dependent variable is the test-anxiety. The Agriculture students are classified according to year level, sex and school of origin. The year level includes  second year, third year and fourth year.  Sex is dichotomized into male and female, while  school of origin includes public or private school.   It is presumed that there is a negative relationship between grit and test-anxiety. As grit level decreases, the test-anxiety level increases.    The findings of the study are the basis for the proposed grit enhancement and test-anxiety reducing seminar. The schematic diagram is presented in the next page.                           

 Figure 1. Conceptual Model of the Study                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     In addition, the following literature will help shed light on the relationship between grit and test anxiety.  The articles are presented based on these two major variables:  grit and test-anxiety.

On Grit

In a study by Kraft, C. and Duckworth, A. (2007) examined the predicted validity of personal qualities not typically collected by school districts during the hiring process.  They used a psychological framework to explore how biographical data or grit a disposition toward perseverance and passion for long term goals explains the variance in novice teachers’ effectiveness and retention.

The researchers found out grittier teachers outperformed their less gritty  colleagues, and they did not have the tendency to leave their classrooms mid- year. The study revealed that teachers who are gritty outperform others and remain committed to their professions.

Furthermore a study by Von Culin, K,, Tsukayama, E. and Duckworth (2013) explored the motivational orientation correlates  of the character strength  of grit  and its two component factors : perseverance of effort and consistency of interests overtime.  Specifically, they studied how individual differences in grit are explained by distinct approaches to pursuing happiness in life’s pleasures in immediate hedonically position activities, meaning activities that serve higher non-specific purposes, and engagement in attention absorbing activities.  Results showed that grit demonstrated medium-sized association with an orientation towards meaning, and small to medium inverse association with an association toward pleasure.  These motivational orientation differentially related to the two facets of grit.  Pursuing engagement was more strongly associated with perseverance of effort , but pursuing pleasure was more strongly inversely related with consistency of interest overtime. The researcher concluded that individual differences in grit may derive in part from differences in what make people happy.

Peruelo, C. (2015) also  conducted a study “Grit, Time Perspective and Academic Achievement  Among College Freshmen.”  The study aimed to investigate the relationships among three variables: grit, time perspective and academic achievement among the freshmen students of a selected school in Bacolod City.  The study had the following conclusions :1)  College freshmen when taken as a whole and when grouped according to sex, college, monthly family income, and birth position was average 2) Grit levels among college freshmen  are not significantly related  to their sex, college, monthly family income and birth order position;, 3). Grit levels do not vary significantly  among college freshmen grouped  according to sex, college, monthly family income and birth order position,

4). Higher grit levels  are associated with higher levels of academic achievement among the participants of the study; thus,  indicating that freshmen students who demonstrated perseverance of effort  and consistency of interest are likely to also be the ones who achieve better academic achievement.  On the whole, the study found significant correlation  among grit, time perspective and academic achievement.

    On Test-Anxiety

A study by Ortner, T. ( 2011)” Consequences of Test-anxiety  on Adaptive versus Fixed item Testing,” investigated the effects of Test-Anxiety on Test-Performance using Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) versus conventional fixed item testing (FIT).  They hypothesized that tests containing mainly items with more probabilities of being solved would have negative effect on test-performance for test-takers high in test-anxiety.  They utilized a total of students whose ages range from 16-20 students in a German Secondary Modern School who filled out a test-anxiety inventory.  The participants were then presented with items from the Adaptive Matrices Tests on the computer either in CAT form or in a fixed test item  form in which items were arranged in increasing difficulty.  Thru moderated regression approaches , results revealed that there was a significant interaction between test anxiety and test-mode.  The effect of test mode on the AMT score  was stronger to students with higher scores on test-anxiety than for students with lower anxiety.

Barrows, Dunn and Lloyd (2013) as cited by Basco and Olea (2015) claimed that test-anxiety negatively affects the students’ performance.  They further claimed that there is a strong relationship between both test-anxiety, exam grades and self-efficacy.  Barrows, Dunn and Lloyd further found out in their study that multiple linear regression analyses showed  that exam and grade could be predicted by test-anxiety, and that self-efficacy moderated the effects  of test-anxiety.

Also Basco and Olea (2015), conducted a study on the correlation between anxiety level and academic performance of BS Biology Freshmen Students  College of Arts and Sciences , Rizal Technological University of the Philippines. Results of the study showed  that state and trait anxiety levels of the respondents is moderate. Furthermore the anxiety  ( state and trait) showed significant difference in terms of the gender, but failed to show significance to such variables like the age of the participants. Also, the results showed no significant difference in trait and state anxiety level and GWA.  The low negative correlation between state anxiety and GWA suggests that the higher the academic performance of the students, will also be accompanied by a lower manifestation of trait and state anxiety.

Another study in 2015 was done by Reyes and Castillo entitled, “Test-anxiety And College Students’ Performance on Mathematics Departmental Examination : Basis For Mathematics  Achievement Enhancement.

They tried to determine the relationship of the performance of the students in the area of mathematics specifically in Algebra and Trigonometry, and their test-anxiety. The researcher used the descriptive correlation design.  Results revealed that students obtained a poor performance rating in Algebra and Trigonometry, and the students also obtained a moderately  felt-test anxiety in Mathematics.  The researchers even considered  test anxiety as a factor that might affect the students’ mathematics performance.

In addition, a study by Khalid, R. Hasan, S. & Salma, P. (2014) examined the level of test-anxiety  in high and low achievers  and its relationship with academic achievement.  They further sought to find out gender differences in test –anxiety for high and low achievers and interactive effect on gender and academic achievement on test-anxiety.

Scope and Limitations of the Study

Scope of the Study.  This study sought   to find out the relationship between grit and test-anxiety of the Agriculture Students in UNO-R  in the second semester, AY 2017-2018.  It included all students who are enrolled in the college of Agriculture regardless of the number of units they take.  To gather data for this study, the researcher used two standardized questionnaires: the Short Grit Survey (Duckworth & Quinn, 20090 , and the Test Anxiety Inventory. By Spielberger (1980).

 

Limitations of the Study

The researcher wanted to study the total population of the Agriculture students enrolled in UNO-R  during the second semester of AY 2017-2018, but only 49 students out of 55 voluntarily went to the Agriculture office to participate in the study.  Announcement was made requesting all students to join the study. The participants were also personally  followed up by the researcher.

Moreover, the researcher has found a dearth of article on test-anxiety and grit. Many studies have correlated grit with academic achievement.  The researcher was also under time constraint.

 Significance of the Study. Findings of the study will greatly benefit the following :

Agriculture Students.  Findings of the study will greatly benefit the Agriculture students.  They will gain insights about the two major variables of the study: grit and test-anxiety. With the insight that they will gain, they can seek counselling and be enlightened about their course.  They will also realize how test anxiety can affect their academic performance; and likewise will seek measures to help overcome test-anxiety.

Teachers.Findings of this study will enable the teachers particularly Agriculture teachers to know how to best handle their students in order to promote effective learning. For students who are suffering from a high level of test-anxiety, the teachers can refer them to the guidance office for counselling.

Administrators.The findings of the study will enable school administrators especially the UNO-R administrators to come up with measures to repackage the Agriculture course to become more attractive to students; hence, increasing enrolment. There is a steady decrease in the number of enrollees in Agriculture course not only in the university under study, but all over the country.

Guidance Counselors.  The results of the study will be of help to the guidance counselors. In many colleges and universities, drop out or failures are very common., hence; the findings of the study will greatly enrich the guidance counselors.  With the insights gain from the study, they will be able to develop strategies that can increase grit and decrease test-anxiety among the students. They can integrate in their counseling how to develop grit and overcome test-anxiety.

Other Researchers. There are still many topics that have not been studied in relation to grit especially in the field of social science.  Studies can be made on topics like self-efficacy, motivation and the like. Qualitative studies can also be done on  grit and test-anxiety.

 

Definition of Terms

For better understanding of the study, the following terms are defined conceptually/ and or operationally.

Agriculture Students.  The term is operationally defined as those individuals who are taking the courses in the Department of Agriculture, in UNO-R,Bacolod City during the second semester of AY 2017-2018.

Grit.  The term is conceptually defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals.  Operationally the term refers to the rating obtained by the students in the Grit (S) survey questionnaire by Duckworth and Quinn (2009).

Sex.  The term is both conceptually and operationally defined as either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans  and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions (http//www.dictionary.com).

School of origin.  The term is operationally defined as the institution where the student graduated his/her high school or secondary level. Its classification includes : public or private

Test-anxiety.  The term is conceptually defined as the fear of failing that one feels before or while taking an important examination ( www.dictionary.com). In this study the term refers to the scores obtained in the Test Anxiety Inventory by Spielberger.,C (1980).

Year Level.  The termis operationally defined as the  official classification  of the students.  For instance they are classified as first year, second year, third year and fourth year.

 

Chapter 2

Methodology

This chapter presents the research design, participants, measures and procedures of the study.

Research Design.  Since the main purpose of the study was to find out the relationship between grit and test-anxiety, the most appropriate design to be used is the descriptive correlational. According to Ardales (2001), the descriptive design aims to find out what prevails in the present, or relationships that prevails.

 Participants of the Study

The participants of the study are all the agriculture students enrolled in the department of Agriculture during the second semester of AY 2017-2018.  Their demographic profiles are presented in the next page.

 

Table 1. The Demographic Profile of the Participants

Year Level                                                Frequency Percent
2nd Year 12 24.5
3rd Year 18 36.7
4th Year 19 38.8
Total 49 100.0
Sex                                                               Frequency Percent
Male 31 63.3
Female 18 36.7
Total 49 100.0
School of Origin Frequency Percent
Private 23 46.9
Public 26 53.1
Total 49 100.0

 

The above table shows that there is a total of 49 agriculture students, Based on year level there are (n=12, %=24.5) second year students, (n=18, %=36.7), and (N=19, %=38.8) with a total of 100%.

When categorized according to Sex, male students (n=31, %=63.3) and (n=18, %=36.7) female students.

Based on their school of origin, there (n=23, %=46.9) coming from private schools and (n=26, %=53.1) from public schools.

Measures.  To gather data for the study, the researcher used two standardized questionnaires: The Short Grit Survey by Duckworth and Quinn, 2009.(Grit-S ) , and the Test-Anxiety Inventory by Spielberger (1980).

The Short Grit survey is an eight-item presenting the participants with statements that capture one’s ability to maintain effort (e.g. “ I finish whatever I begin”) and sustain interest ( e.g.” I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest overtime.”) The participants indicated how true a statement is of him/her by rating each item on a 5-point Likert type scale ranging from 1-not like me at all to 5-very much like me (Duckworth and Quinn 2009 as cited by Peruelo, 2015).

The Grit -S questionnaire yields an overall score representing the participant’s grit level; the higher the score, the higher one’s grit level.  Beside from the overall grit score, the instrument also yields two subscale scores representing the two factors that make up grit: Perseverance of Effort and Consistency of Interests ( Duckworth and Quinn as cited by Peruelo, 2015).

Reliability of the Grit-S . One of  an attribute of a good instrument is reliability.  It is the consistency in which the instrument measures the attribute under study. Grit has been shown to be a reliable instrument for measuring grit, with good internal consistency for the composite score ( a=.73 to .83) as well as for its two subscale scores ( Consistency of Interest, a+.73 to .79; perseverance of effort, a=.60 to.78) (Duckworth and Quinn, 2009).

In addition to reliability, a good instrument must be valid.  Validity is the characteristic of an instrument to measure what it is supposed to measure (Polit and Beck,2006). Collective findings from four studies have shown evidence for the predictive validity, and consensual validity of the Grit-S questionnaire (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). The Grit-S questionnaire has been translated in several languages.

To gather data for the test-anxiety, the researcher used the Test-Anxiety Inventory (TAI). This instrument was developed by Spielberger (1980). It is a self-report instrument consisting of 20-items.  It is especially designed to  tmeasure the test-anxiety among high school or college students. It contains three subscales : Test-Anxiety Total (TAI-T), Test-Anxiety-Worry (TAI-W), and Test-Anxiety Emotionality (TAI-E). Eight it0.96ems of the Test-Anxiety Inventory measure the TAI-W, eight items measure TAI-E, and the remaining four measuring TAI-T. Test-Anxiety is a four point Likert scale, and the students have to respond to the four options: (1). Almost Never, (2) sometimes, (3)Often and (4) Almost Always.  The reliability values of Alpha coefficient for subscales of the original version of the TAI were 0.96 for TAI-T, 0.91 for TAI-W and 0.91 for TAI-E( https://pdf.semanticsscholar.org.)

Table 2  The Mean Scale for the Grit Level of the Agriculture Students

Mean Scale Interpretation Verbal Description
4.21 5.00 Extremely Gritty Cha. By an immense perseverance  and passion for long-term goals
3.41 4.20 Most-likely Gritty Cha. by high passion and perseverance  for long-term-goals but can be discouraged by set backs
2.61 3.40 Somewhat Gritty Cha. by having an average passion and perseverance for long-term goals but can be discouraged by set backs.
1.81 2.60 Not much Gritty Distinguished by having low passion and perseverance for long-term goals, and they can be easily discouraged by set backs
1.00 1.80 Not Gritty at all Distinguished by having no  passion and perseverance at all  for long-term goals.

 

Table 3. The Mean Scale for the Anxiety Level  of Agriculture Students.

Mean Scale Interpretation Verbal Description
63.2180.00 Very High Characterized by panic attack, self-disintegration
47.4163.20 High Characterized by pounding heart beat, chest pain, headache, vomiting
31.6147.40 Moderate Characterized by faster heart beat, dry mouth, sweating, stomach pain, nausea, rapid or high-pitched speech
15.8131.60 Low Characterized by fidgeting, irritability, sweaty palms and heightened senses
1.00 15.80 Very Low Characterized by a high level of  confidence, not affected by the test-situation

Procedures.

Code of Ethics. The researcher explained to the participants about the study.  She likewise informed them that their true identities will not be revealed during the conduct of the study, nor in the writing of the report.  They were also informed that they will not be forced to participate in the study. It was emphasized to them, that the results of the study will be used for research purposes only.

Data Gathering Procedure.

In gathering the data ,  the researcher  did the following steps :

First, she wrote a letter to the Vice president of Academics to conduct the study. The letter was duly noted by her dean. Then she coordinated with the head of the Agriculture department  and the head of the  Recoleto Online Learning Extension (ROLEX) project to gather all the students on a specific date, so she can personally distribute and retrieve the questionnaires. She then explained to the participants about the study, and likewise appealed to them to answer the questionnaires as honestly as they can and to answer all the items in the questionnaire.  She emphasized not to leave any item unanswered for this action could jeopardize the study.

After gathering her data, she scored, tabulated and encoded the data.  Then she submitted the data to a statistician for SPSS.

Data Analysis. 

For the first and the second problems, the researcher used descriptive statistics to treat the data.

For the third problem, the researcher used relational statistics.

Statistical Tools. 

For the first and the second problems, the researcher treated  the data using the mean, T test for independent mean and ANOVA.

For the third problem, the researcher   used the PPM in treating the data

(Pearson Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation.

 

Chapter 3

Results, Discussion and Recommendations

      This chapter presents the results of the study with the corresponding discussion and implications.

Table 4.

The Grit Level of Agriculture Students When Taken As A Whole and When Grouped According to Year level, Sex and school of Origin.

Year Level M N SD

Interpretation Descriptions

2nd Year 3.16 12 .49                 Somewhat Gritty
3rd Year 3.24 18 .42                 Somewhat  Gritty
4th Year 3.32 19 .33                 Somewhat  Gritty
Sex M N SD  
Male 3.21 31 .39                 Somewhat  Gritty
Female 3.31 18 .43                 Somewhat  Gritty
School of Origin M N SD  
Private School 3.34 23 .50               Somewhat   Gritty
Public School 3.16 26 .57                Somewhat Gritty
As A Whole 3.25 49 .40                Somewhat  Gritty
                As shown in the above table, the grit level of agriculture students when taken as a whole is (M=3.25, SD=0.49) and interpreted as somewhat gritty.

               However, when they are grouped according to year level, highest mean was obtained by 4th year students (M=3.32, SD=0.33), then followed by 3rd year students (M=3.22, SD=0.42) and the lowest mean was obtained by the 2nd year students (M=3.16, SD=0.49), however all three were groups were rated with moderate grit level or  interpreted as somewhat gritty.

As shown in Table 4, the Agriculture students when taken as a whole and when grouped as to the variables of year level, sex   and school of origin are just somewhat gritty.  It means that the students have an average passion and perseverance to pursue long-term goals, but they can be discouraged by set backs. The may  need support in order to remain motivated in their long term goals.   Results of the study are   similar to the results conducted by Peruelo (2015) in terms of  , sex  and the grit level as a whole.  Peruelo conducted the study , “Grit, Time Perspective  and Academic Achievement Among College Freshmen.”   She found out that there was no significant difference in the level of grit when the participants were grouped according to sex ,  college, monthly family income and birth order. She concluded that  the grit level of the students when taken as a whole, and when grouped according to sex, college, monthly family income and birth order position was average which is approximately equivalent to the results of the study “somewhat gritty.” Grit levels among college  Freshmen are not significantly related  to their sex, college, monthly family income and birth order position. In the study of Jaeger (2010) as cited by Peruelo (2015)  among the Freshmen enrolled in an engineering program, females show a significantly higher level  of grit which also contrast the finding in this study, but Batres (2011) as cited by Peruelo (2015) found no significant difference  between males and females  with respect to their grit level.  A study by Wrigley (2014) as cited by Peruelo (2015) also found out no significant difference  in grit scores between male and female undergraduate and post-graduate Psychology students supporting also the finding of this study.

Grit has been defined as passion and endurance for long-term goals ( Duckworth, 2007).  She has indicated that gritty individuals tend to work diligently towards very challenging long term goals, and they can sustain  commitment when faced with challenges and adversities. Across Duckworth (2007 ) studies she found out one variable that came out as a strong predictor of success beyond talent and IQ and that is grit. Duckworth and fellow researchers found out that grit has no relationship with IQ but have strong relationship with two classes of US Military Academy, ranking in the National Spelling Bee and educational attainment among adults.

For instance, Kraft and Duckworth (2007) examined the predictive validity of personal qualities not typically collected by school districts during the hiring process.  They used a psychological framework to explore how biographical data or grit a disposition towards perseverance and passion for long term goals explains the variance in novice teachers’ effectiveness and retention.

The researchers found out that grittier teachers outperformed their less gritty colleagues and did not have the tendencies to leave their classroom in mid year. The study further revealed  that teachers who are gritty  outperform others and remain committed to the profession.

Moreover the finding of the study with the participants achieving a somewhat gritty interpretation was also similar with the results of a study conducted  by Garcia, A., Cheung, AM & Abuyo, M. (2015). They conducted a study on the “Correlation of the Academic Performance  and Grit Among College of Arts and Sciences Students Batch 2014 in the Lyceum of the Philippines, Laguna.  They researchers sought to find out the significant relationship between  academic performance and grit  among the 55 College of Arts and Sciences students Batch 2014 of the Lyceum of the Philippines, Laguna.

The findings revealed that the grit level of the students is also somewhat gritty, and that there is a direct relationship between grit level  and GWA ( General Weighted Average).  It implies  that as the level of grit increases, there is a tendency for the respondents grade to increase.

However, the construct of grit was questioned by Tynan, CM, Harms, M., and Peter D.(2017).  Their study provided a meta-analytic synthesis of the grit literature with a particular focus on the structure of grit and the relation between grit and performance; retention, conscientiousness, cognitive ability and demographic variables. Their results were based on 584 effect sizes from 88 independent samples representing 66,807 individuals that the higher order structure of grit is not confirmed; that grit is only moderately correlated with performance and retention, and that grit is strongly correlated with conscientiousness.  They also found out that the perseverance of effort explains variance in academic performance even after controlling for conscientiousness.  In the aggregate, the results suggest that the construct validity of grit is in question; and that the primary utility of the grit  construct may be in the perseverance of effort.

Table 5. The Anxiety Level of Agriculture Students When Taken As A Whole and When Grouped According to Year Level, Sex, and School of Origin.

 
  Year Level M N SD Interpretation
  2nd Year 53.17 12 8.33 High
  3rd Year 46.00 18 8.94 Average
  4th Year 45.79 19 7.04 Average
  Sex M N SD
  Male 46.81 31 9.04 Average
  Female 49.17 18 7.59 High
  Total 47.67 49 8.53 High
  School of origin M N SD
  Private School 47.87 23 9.92 High
  Public School 47.50 26 7.29 High
  As A Whole 47.67 49 8.53 High

As shown in Table 5, results revealed that the level of test-anxiety of the students is high.  When it comes to the variable of sex, females obtain higher test-anxiety compared to the males.  The results of the study is supported by a study conducted by Khalid, R. & Hasan, S. ( 2009 ).

Their study examined the level  of test-anxiety in high and low achievers and its relationship with academic achievement, gender differences in test anxiety for high and low achievers and interactive effect  of gender and academic achievement on test-anxiety.  The participants included 187 undergraduate students. Test anxiety was measured thru Spielberger’s (1980) Anxiety Inventory.  Results showed that high achievers experience less test-anxiety as compared to low achievers.  Female high achievers experienced more test-anxiety as compared to male high achievers whereas low male achievers experienced more test-anxiety than female low achievers.  A significant interactive effect of gender and academic achievement  on test-anxiety was found.

Moreover  according to Silke, N. et al (2009), test anxiety is a very common problem among university students which is frequently accompanied by a decline in performance and severe psychological problems.  Studies of treatment  of methods of test-anxiety were identified using literature searches of the Cochraine Library data base of randomized controlled trials.  Different intervention techniques for the treatment of anxiety was detected  from which cognitive behavioral methods  were found to be most effective for the treatment of test-anxiety.  Their empirical finding revealed that university students  should be taught with strategies to cope with the demands and organization of their studies at a very early age to prevent the occurrence of test-anxiety and its concomitants.

In addition in a study by Basco, R. & Olea, M. (2013),  “Correlation Between Anxiety Level and Academic Performance of BS Biology Freshmen Students,” the results revealed that state and trait anxiety level of the respondents is moderate. Furthermore the anxiety ( state and trait) levels  showed significant difference in terms of the gender , but failed to show significance to such variables as age of the participants .   Likewise, the results showed no significant difference in State and Trait Anxiety level and GWA.  The low and negative correlation between state anxiety and GWA (General weighted average) suggests that the higher the academic performance  of the students, there would be lower manifestation  of State and trait Anxiety.

In a study conducted by   Reyes, M. & Castillo  A. (2015), “ Test-Anxiety and College Students’ Performance on Mathematics Departmental Examination : Basis For Mathematics Achievement Enhancement, ‘” which aimed to determine the relationship of the performance of students in the field of Mathematics specifically in Algebra and Trigonometry and their test-anxiety.  The research used a descriptive correlation research methods that could best present and analyze documentary analysis in students’ mathematics performance and descriptive survey about Math test-anxiety.  The researchers concluded that test-anxiety is considered a factor  that might affect a students’  mathematics achievement.  A plan of action for the enhancement  of mathematics achievement was proposed. Moreover, Reyes & Castillo (2015) cited in their study Barrows, Dunn and Lloyd (2013)  findings that test-anxiety negatively affects students’ performance. They have found out a strong relationship between both test-anxiety and exam grades, and self-efficacy and exam grades. Further, multiple linear regression analyses showed that exam grades could be predicted by test-anxiety, and that self-efficacy moderated the effects of anxiety.

The findings on the level of test-anxiety in terms of year level contrasted the findings of Suarez, M.J. and Quimbo, M.A.T. (2016) in their study, “ Test-anxiety and selected personal factors as determinant of academic performance  of undergraduate on-line learners.” Results on analysis by gender revealed that most female students had a comfortably low test-anxiety while the majority of the male respondents  belonged to normal or average test-anxiety.  When it comes to year level, senior students had low test-anxiety when compared with the rest of the students. However, further analysis with the proper statistical tools shows that the difference in the test-anxiety level and students’ classification or year level were not significant  implying similarity in the level of test-anxiety among on-line learners regardless of age, gender and year level.

 

Table 6.. The Significant Relationship Between the Grit and Anxiety Levels of the Agriculture Students.
Correlations
  Grit Anxiety
Grit Pearson Correlation 1 -.164
Sig. (2-tailed)   .261
N 49 49
Anxiety Pearson Correlation -.164 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .261  
N 49 49

It is shown in the above table of Pearson Product Moment Correlation, r that there is a negative relationship ( r=-0.164, p-value=0.26) between the grit and anxiety levels of agriculture students, which means that as the grit level increases, their anxiety level deceases or as grit level decreases, their anxiety level  increase. However, their relationship is not significant since p-value is greater than 0.05

The findings revealed that there is a negative correlation between grit and test-anxiety.  It means that the higher the grit, the lower the test anxiety.  However it should be noted  that the result is not statistically significant since p value is greater than 0.05.  This finding mean that the students test-anxiety is not related to grit but to some other factors that could be probed in further studies.

Implications

     The results of the study revealed that the Agriculture students are somewhat  gritty which implied that they have an average level of grit.  The results would also imply that they do not have a one hundred percent commitment to pursue long-term goals. It is possible that they can be dismayed or discouraged  if there are challenges or difficulties that may come their way. Without proper support and guidance  they may give up tasks that may require patience and perseverance. Findings also revealed that taking into consideration the different variables like year level, sex a and school or origin, students are still somewhat  gritty or they have an average level of grit.

On the other hand when it comes to their test- anxiety as a whole, the students obtained a high level.  The results imply that when they are exposed to test-situations they may suffer from distressing symptoms like headache, nausea, stomach ache and a sense of dread. If they will not know how to handle these anxiety especially in high stakes examination, they could even suffer from mental block out.  Hence, it is important that they should be taught techniques to overcome anxiety by doing relaxation exercises.

It should also be noted  that there is a negative relationship between grit and test-anxiety.  It means that the higher the grit, the lower the anxiety level. The correlation however is not significant probably due to a small sample size. But with a bigger sample, the results could have been significant.

The output of this study are two seminar work-shops which are designed to enhance the grit and lower the test- anxiety level. 

 Conclusions

The Agriculture students of UNO-R as a whole were somewhat gritty.  It means that they have an average passion and perseverance  to pursue long-term goals. It is possible that with very difficult challenges, they may give up on goals they want to achieve in their lives.  There is still a need to increase or enhance their grit level.

The Agriculture students as a whole obtained a high level of test-taking anxiety. They may suffer from distressing symptoms of anxiety like palpitations, cold clammy perspiration and even mental block out.  If no measures will be done to address this issue, it may even affect their academic achievement.

There is a negative relationship between grit and test-taking anxiety but it is not statistically insignificant.    There is no direct negative relationship between grit and test anxiety.  The high level of test-anxiety of students is not directly related to grit but there could be other factors that cause the students to be anxious in test-taking situations.

Recommendations

Agriculture Students.  Findings of this study will enable the students to develop better  understanding of grit.  They will also come to know about their grit level. Since their grit level is average or they are “somewhat gritty,” there is a need for them to join the grit enhancement seminar work-shop. They are also enjoined to attend the Test-anxiety Reducing Seminar Workshop.

Teachers/Agriculture.  Thru this study the teachers will learn about the grit level of their students.  The Agriculture teachers in particular can offer support to these students  on the relevance of their course. Teachers in a different fields can also benefit from this study.  They will be able to understand  that success in life does not only depend on intelligence and talents, but grit can play an important role in achieving one’s goal in life. Since grit can be developed, teachers can play an important role in fostering the grit level of their students. They can introduce activities in their class that can develop grit.

UNO-R Administrators. Enrollment in the College of Agriculture nationwide has continued to decline.  In the university where this study was conducted, the department of Agriculture has only a total of 55 students.  So the findings of this study will give the administrators the awareness that grit is an important factor in the pursuance of long-term goals. Hence, they will be more active in supporting the grit enhancement  and reducing test-anxiety  seminar work-shops.

Guidance Counselors.  Drop outs and failures among students is a wide-spread problem among universities and colleges in the Philippines.  Most students who have failed subjects in college are not really low in intelligence, but it is possible that they lack the grit to pursue long-term goals.  With the insights gather from this study, guidance counselors may come up with measures in order to enhance grit among the college students.

Other Researchers. There is a dearth of researches on Grit in the Philippines since grit is a fairly new concept. There are still many variables  that can be studied in relation to grit.  It is likewise strongly recommended that professors in the university under study should conduct more studies to find out what can cause students to be highly anxious in examinations especially high stakes tests like board examination. Moreover it is strongly recommended that a study on grit and test-anxiety will be conducted on a wider scale like province-wide or nationwide studies.

Output of the Study

Description of the Output.  The Output of the study will be two proposed seminar programs:

GRIT FOSTERING SEMINAR

OVERCOMING TEST-TAKING ANXIETY SEMINAR

 

The GRIT FOSTERING SEMINAR . This output will be a one day seminar-workshop that will include topics that aim to enhance the grit level of the students.  Experts on the topic will be will be invited as speakers.  The seminar will have the following objectives :

to develop in the students deep understanding of grit;

to enable the students to employ strategies that will develop their grit;

to appreciate the role of grit in the achievement of success.

OVERCOMING TEST-TAKING ANXIETY SEMINAR- This output will be a one day seminar that will include topics that aim to  teach students on how to manage their anxiety level.  Experts on the topic will also be invited as speakers. The seminar will have the following objectives :

  1. to deepen students’ understanding of test-taking anxiety;
  2. to discuss different techniques of relaxation;
  3. to apply the relaxation techniques learned in test-situations;
  4. to appreciate the role of relaxation techniques as a way of coping with anxiety whether in test-situations or other stressful situations.

Target Clientele

The target clientele for this program are the Agriculture students in the private university in Bacolod City.  Other students of the university are also welcome to join

Topics For the Seminary Workshop

Understanding the Nature of Frustration  and How To Increase One’s Frustration Tolerance

This topic will help the students understand the nature of frustration.  They will also be taught strategies in increasing one’s frustration tolerance. This topic is very important in developing the grit of the students, because most often students are unable to pursue long term goals . They are easily discouraged by set backs. Once they are discouraged they give up their goals easily.

Learning Strategies to Cope with Life’s Stressors

This topic  will  enable students learn strategies to cope with life’s stressors.  They will realize that in pursuing their goals in life, they will encounter a lot of obstacles.  In order to succeed, they must know how to overcome life’s obstacles.  They must have the stamina to cope with the trials that will come their way.

Staying Focused on A Goal

The researcher based on her readings and observations, found that students are easily distracted.  They have short attention span.  Many students   jump from one course to another, wasting time, money and resources along the way. It is important that they must learn how to cultivate their interest and to remain focused on their goals to achieve success in their lives.

How To Overcome Test-Anxiety

This topic will enable the students to understand the nature of anxiety.  They will also learn different relaxation techniques that will enable them to reduce anxiety especially in test  situations.

Understanding the Nature of Anxiety

This topic will enable the students to gain a deeper understanding of test-anxiety.  They will understand that anxiety has different levels, and  each level has its accompanying physiological reactions.

Action Plan for the Grit Fostering Seminar Work-shop

 

Objectives

 

Topics

 

Time-Frame

 

Persons Involved

 

Budget

 

Success Indicator

 

To enable the students to increase their frustration tolerance

 

Understanding the  Nature of Frustration and How to Increase One’s Frustration Tolerance

 

3 hours

 

Guidance Counselor/Psychologist

 

3000.00

 

The students will be able to  articulate an improvement in their ability to tolerate frustration  by at least 85 %.

To enable the students to learn strategies in overcoming life’s  stressors  

 

Learning Strategies to Cope with Stressors

 

 

3 hours

 

Guidance Counselor/Psychologist

 

3000.00

 

The students will apply these techniques in their lives with at least 85 % success.

To enable the students to develop endurance in pursuing long term goals  

Staying Focused on A Goal

 

3

 

Guidance Counselor/Psychologist

 

 

3000.00

The students will be able to endure the requisites of long term goals like their course in Agriculture
To enable the students  to understand the nature of test- anxiety Understanding Test-anxiety  

2

Guidance Counselor/Psychologist  

 

3000.00

The students will be able to articulate a deeper understanding of test-anxiety.
To enable the students to learn and apply in their lives the different relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety Techniques to Reduce Test-Anxiety 3 Guidance Counselor/Psychologist 3000.00 The students will be able to demonstrate the different relaxation techniques with at least 85 % accuracy.

 

 

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