Although active learning improves student outcomes in science, technology, engineer-ing, and mathematics (STEM) programs, it may provoke anxiety in some students. We examined whether two psychological variables, social anxiety (psychological distress relat-ing to the fear of negative evaluation by others) and academic self-efficacy (confidence in one’s ability to overcome academic challenges), interact with student perceptions of evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) and associate with their final grades in a STEM-related course. Human anatomy and physiology students in community college courses rated various EBIPs for their perceived educational value and their capacity to elicit anxiety (N = 227). In general, practices causing students the most anxiety (e.g., cold calling) were reported by students as having the least educational value. When controlling for students’ self-reported grade point averages, socially anxious students rated several EBIPs as more anxiety inducing, whereas high-efficacy students reported less anxiety sur-rounding other EBIPs. Furthermore, mediation analysis revealed that individual differences in academic self-efficacy at the beginning of the term explained some of the negative association between students’ social anxiety levels and final grades in the course. Our results, obtained in a community college context, support a growing body of evidence that social anxiety and academic self-efficacy are linked with how students perceive and perform in an active-learning environment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) Award Abstract No. 1829157.
© 2021 S. Hood et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education and The American Society for Cell Biology.
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
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