Math Ability/Performance:
Math Anxiety Abstracts
M. Aksu, A longitudinal study on attitudes towards mathematics by department and sex at the university level
Includes: The distribution of the subjects by sex and department in 1986 and 1988. (table); Correlated t-tests on 1986/1988 MAS Scores on males, females and groups. (table); Correlated t-tests on 1986/1988 MAS Scores on Maths. Dept. students. (table); Two way analysis of variance of Total Mean Scores in 1986. (table); Two way analysis of variance of Enjoyment Mean Scores in 1986. (table); Two way analysis of variance of Freedom from Fear Mean Scores in 1986. (table)
S. F. Chipman, D. H. Krantz, and R. Silver, Mathematics anxiety and science careers among able college women
A study was conducted in a women's college to determine if there exists a correlation between women's attitude towards math and their choice of career. A questionnaire which consisted of career interest questions and math attitude items was administered to incoming freshmen batches in 1985, 1986 and 1987. Results showed a high correlation between math confidence and choice of a physical science career. On the other hand, previous knowledge in math proved to be insignificant. These results point to the importance of cultivating positive attitudes towards mathematics learning.
A. Devine, K. Fawcett, D. Szücs, and A. Dowker, Gender differences in mathematics anxiety and the relation to mathematics performance while controlling for test anxiety
From the article: Our study has revealed that secondary school children experience math anxiety (MA). Importantly, we controlled for Text Anxiety (TA) which is typically not controlled for in MA studies. Girls showed higher levels of MA than boys and high levels of MA were related to poorer levels of mathematics performance. As well as potentially having a detrimental effect on ‘online’ mathematics performance, past research has shown that high levels of MA can have negative consequences for later mathematics education. Therefore MA warrants attention in the mathematics classroom, particularly because there is evidence that MA develops during the primary school years. Furthermore, our study showed no gender difference in mathematics performance, despite girls reporting higher levels of MA. These results might suggest that girls may have had the potential to perform better than boys in mathematics however their performance may have been attenuated by their higher levels of MA. Longitudinal research is needed to investigate the development of MA and its effect on mathematics performance.
This article contains a substantial list of references.
A. Dowker, A. Sarhar, C. Y. Look, Mathematics Anxiety: What Have We Learned in 60 Years?
From the article: “The construct of mathematics anxiety has been an important topic of study at least since the concept of “number anxiety” was introduced by Dreger and Aiken (1957), and has received increasing attention in recent years. This paper focuses on what research has revealed about mathematics anxiety in the last 60 years, and what still remains to be learned. We discuss what mathematics anxiety is; how distinct it is from other forms of anxiety; and how it relates to attitudes to mathematics. We discuss the relationships between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance. We describe ways in which mathematics anxiety is measured, both by questionnaires, and by physiological measures. We discuss some possible factors in mathematics anxiety, including genetics, gender, age, and culture. Finally, we describe some research on treatment. We conclude with a brief discussion of what still needs to be learned.”
This article contains an extensive list of 157 references.
R. B. Felson and L. Trudeau, Gender differences in mathematics performance
Includes: Typical sex difference socialization model for performance in mathematics. (chart); Items from parents', children's questionnaire, lambda model coefficients. (table); Sex differences in performance, grades 5-8. (table); Model representing the effects of sex on math anxiety. (chart); Structural coefficients of gender effects on parents, children, teachers. (table); Enrollment in various high school courses, 1986-87. (table); Gender differences in high school performance. (table)
T. Goetz, M. Bleg, O. Lüdtke, R. Pekrum, and N. Hall, Do Girls Really Experience More Anxiety in Mathematics?
From the article: Two studies were conducted to examine gender differences in trait (habitual) versus state (momentary) mathematics anxiety in a sample of students (Study 1: N = 584; Study 2: N = 111). For trait math anxiety, the findings of both studies replicated previous research showing that female students report higher levels of anxiety than do male students. However, no gender differences were observed for state anxiety, as assessed using experience-sampling methods while students took a math test (Study 1) and attended math classes (Study 2). The discrepant findings for trait versus state math anxiety were partly accounted for by students’ beliefs about their competence in mathematics, with female students reporting lower perceived competence than male students despite having the same average grades in math. Implications for educational practices and the assessment of anxiety are discussed.
J. S. Hyde, E. Fennema, M. Ryan, L. A. Frost, and C. Hopp,Gender comparisons of mathematics attitudes and affect: a meta-analysis
This is a report on the authors' meta-analyses on the effects of gender differences in attitudes on mathematics performance. On the whole, effect sizes were small. Some differences in attitudes were observed and the differences seemed to increase with the age of the students. Includes: Gender differences on scales of math attitudes/affect as function of age. (table); Magnitude of gender differences on other scales of math attitudes/affect. (table); Gender differences in mathematics attitudes/affect, combining scales. (table); Gender differences in mathematics anxiety as function of selectivity. (table); Studies of gender differences in mathematics attitudes and affect. (table)
A. Keshavarzi and S. Ahmadi, A comparison of mathematics anxiety among students by gender
From the article:“The general purpose of this research was the study of mathematics anxiety among high school male and female students. To assess the students’ mathematics anxiety, Chiu and Henry's ‘Mathematics Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC)’, the reliability and validity of which had previously been calculated, was used.
The population was consisted of all high school science and mathematics students that studied in four districts in Shiraz, and participants were selected by random-cluster sampling.
The finding indicated that:
- There was no statistical significant difference between girls and boys in respect to mathematics anxiety.
- In mathematics learning anxiety dimension, there was no significant difference between girls and boys. But in respect to mathematics problem solving and evaluation, girls gained higher mean, while in respect to anxiety created in students through teacher, boys gained higher mean, and these differences became significant.”
K. Jablon Stoehr, Mathematics Anxiety:One Size Does Not Fit All
From the article: “Mathematics educators agree elementary teachers should possess confidence and competence in teaching mathematics. Many prospective elementary teachers (particularly women) pursue careers in elementary teaching despite personal repeated experiences of mathematics anxiety. Previous studies of mathematics anxiety have tended to focus on physical sensations that occur during test-taking situations. This study analyzes how three women prospective elementary teachers described, explained, and related their experiences of mathematics anxiety while learning mathematics as K-12 students and while learning to teach mathematics. My research reveals that mathematics anxiety may reach beyond assessment situations and impact women prospective elementary teachersâ€™ larger mathematical histories. I show how women prospective elementary teachers may interpret mathematics anxiety as specific fears (e.g., loss of social belonging, loss of personal identity, or loss of practical competency) and how specific coping strategies may be invented to cope with the fear. I present evidence of how coping strategies may impede mathematics learning.”
The article has an extensive list of references related to teachers and math anxiety.
M. Witt, The Impact of Mathematics Anxiety on Primary School Children’s Working Memory
From the article: “While there is little doubt that there is a connection between mathematics anxiety and poor mathematical performance, the direction and nature of this connection is less clear. Some researchers (e.g. Ma and Xu, 2004) have contended that poor mathematical performance directly causes mathematics anxiety. Others see a more complex relationship in which mathematics anxiety may, in part at least, cause poor mathematical performance. One possible explanation for the latter view is that mathematics anxiety leads directly to a disruption of cognitive processes such as working memory, which leads directly to poorer mathematical performance (Hopko, Ashcraft, Gute, Ruggiero & Lewis, 1998). The working memory component most consistently associated with mathematics anxiety is the central executive (Ashcraft & Kreuse, 2007), although there is evidence (Miller & Bichsel, 2004) that visual-spatial working memory is impaired by mathematics anxiety. This study sought to explore the suggestion (Ashcraft & Kirk, 2001) that the mere presence of digits might trigger an anxious reaction among children reporting high levels of mathematics anxiety, leading to a decrement in working memory performance. Children of 9 and 10 years of age reported levels of mathematics anxiety and undertook two working memory tasks, one measuring central executive functioning and the other measuring visual-spatial working memory. Each working memory task was completed twice, once using letters as the to-be-remembered stimuli and again using digits. The differences in performance between the two versions of the tasks were compared with the reported levels of mathematics anxiety. The findings suggest that the presence of digits as the stimuli caused a decrement in working memory performance commensurate with the reported levels of mathematical anxiety.”