Test anxiety and performance-avoidance goals explain gender differences in SAT scores
This study uses analysis of co-variance in order to determine which cognitive/learning (working memory, knowledge integration, epistemic belief of learning) or social/personality factors (test anxiety, performance-avoidance goals) might account for gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT scores. The results revealed that none of the cognitive/learning factors accounted for gender differences in SAT performance. However, the social/personality factors of test anxiety and performance-avoidance goals each separately accounted for all of the significant gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT performance. Furthermore, when the influences of both of these factors were statistically removed simultaneously, all non-significant gender differences reduced further to become trivial by Cohen’s (1988) standards. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT performance are a consequence of social/learning factors.