BPS Psychology of Education Annual Conference 2023

Dr Simon Cassidy presented a paper at the BPS PoE annual conference examining the value of self-report threat appraisal as an indicator of future educational attainment, retention, and progression in students in higher education. Threat appraisal, involving cognitive appraisal and evaluation of situational task demands versus available personal resources in high-value motivated performance situations, is conventionally measured using cardiovascular response output (heart rate for instance) as an objective measure of an individual’s response to stress. However, evidence suggests that subjective self-report measures also offer a valid measure of threat appraisal that correspond with objective measures but offer the advantage of being relatively quick and easy to administer in applied settings. Threat appraisal has previously been applied in areas such as commercial aviation, elite sport, and emergency medicine where it has been shown to predict future performance, possibly operating via a mechanism of increased anxiety and disrupted attention control. With fewer applications in the field of education, the paper offered insight into the value of threat appraisal in an applied educational context, highlighting potential implications for both future research and practice.