Stress and practical assessments

Clarke, Neil D. and Gardiner, Nicholas (2010) Stress and practical assessments. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 6 (2). pp. 158-163. ISSN 1740-5106


This paper explores the role of stress in practical assessments, which have long been used in an academic Sports Science and Sports Therapy setting. Practical exams have the potential to assess many aspects of both theory and practice. They are especially important for assessing a student’s competence in performance of a particular skill. In addition, practical exams are designed to recreate the stresses of a clinical environment (Rushforth, 2006). The practical exams for Sports Therapy also serve to satisfy the core competency requirements set by the course’s governing body, The Society of Sports Therapists. It is important to consider the build up of stress in a lead-up to an exam. The student needs to have enough experience and confidence in order to minimise anxiety and allow the demands of the situation to increase arousal and enable the student to perform at the best of their ability. But, how do we achieve the optimal level of stress?

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