Date Approved

5-7-2008

Embargo Period

3-23-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in School Psychology

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta

Second Advisor

Epifanio, Frank

Subject(s)

College students--Psychology; Task analysis in education

Disciplines

Educational Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence that the perceived difficulty of a task has on task performance. Twenty-one undergraduate college students were asked to complete three anagram worksheets. Each worksheet had a different description of difficulty (easy, medium, hard), although all worksheets were of the same difficulty. Participants self-reported amounts of anxiety, effort, perceived competence, and task difficulty after each worksheet. A repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant linear effect for perceived difficulty on task performance (F(1) = 10.42, p<0.05) , and paired-samples t-tests showed that participants had significantly more successful responses on the easy (M = 4.67, SD = 1.11) and medium (M = 4.48, SD = 1.37) worksheets than on the hard worksheet (M = 3.43, SD = 1.99), and self reported ratings of perceived competence were higher for the easy difficulty (M = 4.67, SD = 1.65) than hard (M = 3.57, SD = 2.16) difficulty. These findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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