Nontraditional student.

The purpose of this assignment is to develop your skills in critical evaluation of scientific psychological evidence as part of
the process of developing scientific arguments. For this assignment you are required to read a set research article and
critically evaluate it by answering a series of questions. The critique should focus on the claims that the authors of the
articles make about their results and evaluating whether or not those claims are credible, and why. You will be marked on
how well you have addressed the questions relating to evaluation of the article


Assignment Cover Sheet – Internal

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Course code and title:BEHL 2005 Introductory Research Methods
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Assignment number:1 Due date:5pm Friday 19/08/2016
Assignment topic as stated in Course Information Booklet:Article Evaluation

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  1. What was the aim of the

The study evaluates statistics anxiety among the university
students. In this study, statistical anxiety refers to the anxiety
feelings experienced by students when studying statistics course or
performing statistical analyses (gathering of projects data and
interpretation of the data). The study highlights the sources/causes
of statistical anxiety. The causes evaluated include financial
issues, family matters, work, and other socio-cultural factors; and
how these challenges impact the university students, especially the
non-traditional students, when taking statistics courses at the


  1. What is the main
    argument in the
    Is the argument convincing?
    Why, or why not?

According to this article, approximately 46% of the college
students are above 25 years. Bell main argument is that the rates
of the old students have increased. The paper also argues that
these “mature age” students face various hurdles in their
classroom. These challenges are attributed to the unrealistic
societal goals, low self image, social familial problems, and in
some cases, the excessive practical orientation. The challenges
along with poor management of time cause poor academic
preparation and increased anxiety. The study hypothesizes that
lack of proper time management and self care are the main cause
of poor academic achievement, especially in statistics course. The
argument is convincing because it is supported by statistical
findings from evidence based research.


  1. Identify the independent
    and dependent variables.

The independent variable age of the student, while the dependent
variable is the students’ scores generated by Statistics Anxiety
Rating Scale (STARS). /2

  1. Does this study have a
    with-groups or a between-
    groups design?

This is a between-group study. The testing factor is the aspect of
statistics anxiety among non-traditional student’s vs younger
students (two variable groups) thus the assertion that it is a
between-groups study.


  1. Is this study a true



  1. State one main result
    reported in the study.
    (1 mark)
    State one main claim the
    researchers make on the
    basis of this result.
    (1 mark)
    Is this claim justified by the
    results? (1 mark)
    Could there be an
    alternative explanation for
    the result? If yes give one
    example. (1 mark)

The nontraditional students scored higher on factors that predict
anxiety, which indicated more anxiety. The factors investigated
includes students perception of statistics, interpretation anxiety,
class and test anxiety, fear for seeking help, fear of statistical
teachers, and computation self concept. The nontraditional
students scored highest in Test and class anxiety factor (p=0.89, t=
-1.36). The traditional students scored highest on factor 1- worth /
perception on statistics which has been reported at 64 th percentile
as compared to the 60 th percentile.
The researcher claims that as statistical anxiety increases, the final
grades gets lower. Therefore, the non-traditional students (scored
high statistical anxiety) tend to have lower grades. This probably
because they did not get same studying experience as the younger
population. Therefore, they will need study harder in order to
perform better and score higher.
This claim is not fully justified by the Bell’s findings. This is
because it is not certain if the nontraditional students suffer from
other challenges other than the six factors evaluated.
Yes, the statistical anxiety is not the only cause of poor


performance in nontraditional group. Probably being away from
mathematics and classroom for a long period of time. Other
additional explanation includes other responsibilities such as work
and family responsibilities which leave with them little time to

  1. Are the results
    generalisable (from the
    sample and in space and
    time)? (1 mark)
    Why, or why not?(1 mark)

Although this is a quantitative research, the study sample is not a
true representative of the population. Therefore, the findings
cannot be used to reflect general population in space and in time.
This is because Bell did not consider other variables such as level
of students, ethnicity, education background, and gender which
could introduce bias due to residual confounding effects.


  1. Point out one good thing
    about the research. (1 mark)

The study points out the challenges experienced by the
nontraditional students. This is important as it helps the lecturers
as well as the school administration establish interventions that
will reduce statistical anxiety. For instance, the school can
introduce dashboard where students can discuss or set up
conversations that can help them lessen statistical anxiety.





Bell, J. A. (2003). Statistics anxiety: The nontraditional student. Education,124(1), 157.