Examination Stress and Stress Resilience: A Qualitative Study of Adolescent Students in Sri Lankan Government Schools

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Building Resilience [POSTER] // The General Certificate of Education: Advanced Level (G.C.E[A/L]) examination taken by adolescent students in collegiate level classes in Sri Lankan government schools has been widely criticised for contributing to an increase in exam-related stress. This study identifies the trigger factors that may cause stress in exam situations, explores the levels of stress experienced by students during different phases of exam situations, and examines the stress management strategies used by the adolescent students to cope with their stress. The cohort consisted of 27 adolescent students from collegiate level classes in government schools in the Jaffna and Anuradhapura zones in Sri Lanka were interviewed. Analysis of interview data was guided by grounded theory methodology which provides a systematic procedure to identify codes and categories. The findings revealed that several factors including the “gatekeeping role” of the exam for academic and career opportunities, competition for admission, a fear of failure, a desire for social respect, and expectations for achievement may trigger stress among adolescent students in exam situations. In addition, of the four stages of exam situations (i.e., preparation stage, confrontation stage, waiting stage, and outcome stage), students appear to experience substantial stress during the preparation stage. It is also worth noting that students appear to seek emotional support from others, seek support for learning from others, rely on their spiritual beliefs, and use relaxing diversions as some of the major strategies to manage their stress during exam situations. The findings of the study may contribute to the development of effective interventions to mitigate the stress of Sri Lankan adolescent students in exam situations in the future. // Paper ID 7494

Examinations,Youth,Learner Support
Sri Lanka