The Effect of a Visual Distraction on Test-Taking Performance
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
MetadataShow full item record
Test performance is of the utmost concern for students. This is why a distraction during an exam is a concerning matter. Many studies have examined the different factors that can affect a student’s performance on an exam, but few have specifically focused on visual distractions in the exam environment. This study aimed to evaluate whether visual distractions in a test environment impact exam performance. We hypothesized that visual distractions negatively affect exam performance directly via impairing attention and indirectly via inducing stress. Participants were instructed to take a short matching test and were randomly assigned to either a control group with no distractions or an experimental group with a distraction. Heart rate was measured to evaluate stress, while electrooculography (EOG) was measured to evaluate attention. Exam performance was assessed based on exam time and exam score. Results showed that there was no significant difference in the change of heart rate (p-value=0.826), EOG horizontal movement (p-value=0.240) and EOG vertical movement (p-value=0.549) between the baseline and test periods for the control and distraction groups. Additionally, no significant difference was found between the group’s exam time (p-value=0.650) or exam score (pvalue=0.625). These results suggest that the visual distraction used in this study may not have been substantial enough to impair students’ exam performance. Future studies can be improved by increasing the number of participants, minimizing selective bias, utilizing higher quality equipment, and by administering a more stimulating visual distraction.
An article that appeared in JASS, issue 2019