This full research paper explores how second-chance testing can be used as a strategy for mitigating students' test anxiety in STEM courses, thereby boosting students' performance and experiences. Second-chance testing is a testing strategy where students are given an opportunity to take an assessment twice. We conducted a mixed-methods study to explore second-chance testing as a potential solution to test anxiety. First, we interviewed a diverse group of STEM students (N = 23) who had taken courses with second-chance testing to ask about the stress and anxiety associated with testing. We then administered a survey on test anxiety to STEM students in seven courses that offered second-chance tests at Midwestern University (N = 448). We found that second-chance testing led to a 30% reduction in students' reported test anxiety. Students also reported reduced stress throughout the semester, even outside of testing windows, due to the availability of second-chance testing. Our study included an assortment of STEM courses where second-chance testing was deployed, which indicates that second-chance testing is a viable strategy for reducing anxiety in a variety of contexts. We also explored whether the resultant reduction in test anxiety led to student complacency, encouraged procrastination, or other suboptimal student behavior because of the extra chance provided. We found that the majority of students reported that they worked hard on their initial test attempts even when second-chance testing was available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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