ArticlePDF Available

Maths anxiety: The fear factor in the mathematics classroom.



Currently, there is a strong political focus in New Zealand on a need to increase the mathematical literacy levels for all students. In New Zealand, one solution being widely promoted is to ‘accelerate’ the learning of struggling students. In looking more closely at why some students may be struggling, it is timely to consider the role of maths anxiety and its impact on students’ learning practices and outcomes. This literature review highlights potential origins of maths anxiety and how teachers might assist in reducing maths anxiety in students.
Maths Anxiety: The Fear Factor in the Mathematics Classroom
New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, Volume 9, Issue 1, 6-15, 2012
Massey University
Currently, there is a strong political focus in New Zealand on a need to increase
the mathematical literacy levels for all students. In New Zealand, one solution
being widely promoted is to ‘accelerate’ the learning of struggling students. In
looking more closely at why some students may be struggling, it is timely to
consider the role of maths anxiety and its impact on students’ learning practices
and outcomes. This literature review highlights potential origins of maths anxiety
and how teachers might assist in reducing maths anxiety in students.
In New Zealand we have an increasingly diverse student population.
Despite large scale numeracy initiatives across primary and secondary schools
there remains ongoing concern at the levels of underachievement for those
students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds – most notably Pasifika and
Māori (Young-Loveridge, 2010). At the national level, policy is directing attention
to monitoring student achievement and progress levels, lifting student
achievement through the use of National Standards, and developing teachers’
pedagogical content knowledge (Ministry of Education, 2009). However, to date,
there is little policy direction concerning the affective and social outcomes of
learning mathematics, especially in relation to those students who are most
vulnerable in our classrooms. The most recent National Education Monitoring
Project (NEMP) results (Crooks, Smith & Flockton, 2010) assert that
mathematics rates highly in popularity stakes for Year 4 and Year 8 students,
with at least 85 percent of students in both years being positive about doing
mathematics at school. At the secondary level, the Program for International
Student Assessment (PISA) also reveals positive ratings for measures of maths
self-concept and self-efficacy by New Zealand students in comparison to
students from a range of other countries (Lee, 2009). But do these positive
results mean that all students in New Zealand classrooms are free from
mathematics anxieties and fears? The response to that question must be ‘highly
In the New Zealand educational context, it is argued that in times of
mathematics reforms that advocate public sharing of one’s mathematical
thinking, collaborative group inquiry processes, and standards-based
Maths Anxiety: The Fear Factor in the Mathematics Classroom 7
assessment and accountability, it is critical that teachers monitor students’
dispositions towards mathematics and mathematics learning (Hunter &
Anthony, 2011). Essentially, teachers must have an awareness and
understanding of maths anxiety, and develop an ability to assist maths anxious
Mathematics anxiety, considered a fear or phobia, produces ‘a negative
response specific to the learning, or doing, of mathematical activities that
interferes with performance’ (Whyte, 2009, p. 4). Closer examination of maths
anxiety reveals two general forms of anxiety: trait and state (Miller & Bischel,
2004). Trait anxiety describes the vulnerability to stress that an individual brings
to a situation. State anxiety refers to the actual situational stress experienced
that is specific to personally stressful or fearful circumstances. Research also
notes that maths anxiety can affect individuals in varying ways, inducing a
cognitive, affective, or physical reaction. For example, a cognitive reaction may
involve negative self-talk, ‘blanking out’, and avoidance; an affective reaction
may be characterised by distrust of ability, fear of looking stupid, and loss of
self-esteem; and a physical reaction may be evidenced by perspiring, a boost in
one’s heart rate, tenseness, or nausea (Freiberg, 2005). ‘If mathematics makes
a student feel anxious [the learning and teaching of mathematics] will be
marked with negative emotions and bodily sensations’ (Zambo & Zambo, 2006,
p. 15) and these may have a powerful and long-lasting effect on learning
mathematics (ibid).
This literature review will highlight the potential origins of maths anxiety,
and how teachers might mitigate maths anxiety within their classroom and for
their students.
Maths anxiety can have multiple origins and, as noted by Shields (2005),
can be perpetuated in the home, society, and the classroom.
The home
In the home, parents who themselves suffer maths anxiety can
unintentionally transfer such anxiety to their children. In the context of doing
mathematics, the emotions expressed by one will inevitably and reciprocally
shape the other within parent-child interactions (Else-Quest, Hyde, & Hejmadi,
2008). For example, children who are reproached for their errors may develop a
fear of taking risks and exploring new possibilities, and may start hating
mathematics. Parental disappointment and despair are especially demoralising
due to the value placed on the high positive regard of parents by children
(Dossel, 1993), while parents giving mathematics low status or applying
pressure to children may also contribute to the development of maths anxiety
(Fraser & Honeyford, 2000). Stolpa (2004) also identifies how parents may
unintentionally raise maths anxiety in their children by providing them with an
excuse to stop trying when they are frustrated or upset due to difficulties with a
mathematical task. A response from parents, such as ‘Don’t worry, I’ve never
understood fractions’ or ‘Never mind, maths was always tricky for me at school
too’, plants a seed that may grow into a strong belief for children that they are
incapable of learning mathematics. High achievers are not immune to pressures
from parents. Over-bearing parental pressure for success or concern about the
Julie Whyte & Glenda Anthony 8
difficulty of mathematics for their children (Bernstein, Coté-Bonanno, Reilly,
Carver, & Doremus, 1995) may contribute to maths anxiety in high achievers.
Social factors such as mathematical myths may also induce or reinforce
maths anxiety for some students. For example, the myth that boys are better
than girls in maths and that only some people have a ‘maths mind’ can
undermine positive self-efficacy beliefs. Too often, situations are encountered in
which it is ‘cool’ to hate mathematics, with people readily stating, with some
pride, ‘I’m no good at maths’, as though displaying a badge of honour or
promoting membership to the I Hate Maths ‘Facebook’ group. As a subject
mathematics is unique as embarrassment often does not result from failure. A
study involving over 1000 undergraduate students in the United States affirms
the view that failure at mathematics is socially acceptable the participants
were less embarrassed in relation to lack of mathematical skills compared with
language skills (Latterell, 2005).
The classroom
Despite young children starting school having, for the most part, a well-
developed, informal competence in mathematics, it is apparent that the
classroom is also a place where maths anxiety can develop and flourish.
Research studies (e.g., Vinson, 2001) suggest that, in combination with the
parental and societal factors, maths anxiety may have its roots in teaching and
teachers, with maths anxious teachers resulting in maths anxious students at
times. Teaching by maths anxious teachers is characterised by an over-reliance
on traditional instructional activities such as: drills, flash cards, and work sheets;
assigning the same work for everyone; teaching to the textbook; insisting on
only one correct way to complete a problem; concentrating more on basic skills
rather than concepts; and, whole class instruction (Gurganus, 2007). Despite
New Zealand’s systemic attempts to reform primary mathematics programmes
(Higgins & Parson, 2009), we have ‘a long tail of underachievement in
mathematics’ (Neill, Fisher, & Dingle, 2010, p. 1) and traditional ways of
learning mathematics continue to be present within our schools (Young-
Loveridge, Taylor, Sharma, & Hāwera, 2006).
While traditional instruction may contribute to maths anxiety, so too does
the culture of the classroom. Classroom culture can be defined as the
behaviours and norms that guide classroom interactions. Experiences of
learning mathematics in structured, rigid classrooms include little opportunity for
debate or discussion, focus on searching for the one right answer, offer limited
encouragement to reflect on thinking, expect quick answers, and emphasise
timed tests (Shields, 2005). In such classrooms, it is likely both overt and covert
teacher behaviours are implicated in fostering students’ maths anxiety (Breen,
2003). These behaviours include: unrealistic expectations of students; gender
bias; giving poor explanations; hostility, anger or intimidation; embarrassing
students in front of peers if a concept is not understood; and, an insensitive or
uncaring attitude (Shields, 2005).
With the advent of National Standards, New Zealand teachers are
encouraged to integrate a range of assessment practices that support students’
learning. However, we know from the research that implementing effective
assessment for learning practices is challenging. Watson’s (2000) study of
Maths Anxiety: The Fear Factor in the Mathematics Classroom 9
informal assessment practices in classrooms, found that teachers were more
prone to ask students to report mathematics already done. Limited attendance
to, and probing of children’s thinking means judgments are more likely to be
based on written work. Unfortunately, written tests, in particular, are often the
primary source for students’ anxiety (Shields, 2005). Other types of assessment
that might also contribute to maths anxiety are timed assessments or activities
within competitive environments. Students who do not perform well on these
types of assessment are often left feeling embarrassed and with the belief they
cannot do mathematics.
While the classroom and the experiences provided can contribute to
maths anxiety, so too can a ‘dropped stitch’. These stitches can be described as
a gap in a student’s prior mathematics learning that prevents more advanced
concept learning (Farrell, 2006) and can arise when students miss learning
access to particular concepts due to shifting schools, illness, or other personal
reasons (Freiberg, 2005).
Current reforms in mathematics education that put the ‘spotlight squarely
on the social and cultural aspects of mathematical development’ (Walshaw &
Anthony, 2008, p. 516) require teachers to ensure that all students have
opportunities to develop mathematical proficiency that includes a positive
mathematical disposition. As maths anxiety is a learned condition (Nolting,
2011), one hopes it can be unlearned. Consequently, teachers have an
important role in the reduction or prevention of student maths anxiety. The
research literature points to several promising ways teachers can assist in the
unlearning, or even prevention, of maths anxiety in students. The variety of
ways available to teachers discussed here include: building positive attitudes
towards mathematics; utilising journal writing, autobiography, metaphors,
drawing, thought bubble pictures, bibliotherapy, and maths related fiction books;
promoting an appropriate classroom culture; utilising effective teaching
practices; working to reduce one’s own maths anxiety; and, involving parents in
school mathematics.
To begin, the need to attend to the affective needs of students is
discussed. Because emotions drive and intensify thinking in mathematics in
profound and powerful ways, identifying students’ emotions concerning
mathematics is as important as identifying any cognitive skill (Zambo & Zambo,
2006). There is a range of ways in which teachers might first identify student
emotions before bringing them out into the open through a classroom
discussion of maths anxiety. Journal writing, while typically utilised to create
opportunities for students to express their understandings of mathematical
concepts, can also be used for sharing and reflecting on feelings about, and
experiences with mathematics (Furner & Berman, 2003). Autobiographies
(Ellsworth & Buss, 2000) in which students are encouraged to explain their
personal mathematics background in writing, including family experiences of
mathematics, may also provide students with the opportunity to express their
feelings about mathematics.
Metaphors can also be used to identify students’ feelings and opinions
about mathematics (Wolodko, Willson, & Johnson, 2003). For example,
teachers can encourage students to imagine mathematics as an object, thing,
Julie Whyte & Glenda Anthony 10
or experience (e.g., a type of food or weather, or an out of school activity) and
to explain their choice through writing (see Gibson, 1994). Filling in thought
bubbles, as seen in cartoons and comic books, has also been successfully used
to reveal students’ feelings about participating in mathematics (Zambo &
Zambo, 2006). These pictures can be analysed by looking at the faces drawn
for physical or emotional clues as well as the symbols, signs and words drawn
in the thought bubble itself.
Appropriate children’s literature can also provide a way past the
obstructions to understanding and engagement that are erected by those who
experience maths anxiety. Stories can bring mathematics to life, explaining
mathematics concepts visually and providing models for visual interpretation of
concepts. More specifically, bibliotherapy, where people are helped to solve
problems through the use of books (Aiex, 1993), offers affective strategies to
caring teachers for dealing with maths anxiety (Furner, 2004). For example, in
the book Maths Curse (Scieszka & Smith, 1995), the main character
experiences tremendous discomfort when told by Mrs Fibonacci that you can
think of almost everything as a maths problem, though comes to realise maths
is a means for making life easier. As the character shares their anxiety about
maths, students may relate and so be prompted to talk about their own feelings
regarding mathematics (Furner & Berman, 2003).
As discussed earlier, classroom culture may, even unwittingly, promote
the development of maths anxiety. To prevent or reduce maths anxiety, first and
foremost requires a safe environment where students are secure in taking risks
and where student thinking is respected. Classroom cultures found to be
successful in reducing maths anxiety include asking questions and exploring
ideas, thinking to make sense, and taking time for reflection (Haylock, 2007).
Also, when assessment activities allow time for anxious students to use such
strategies as pausing, looking back, and reading aloud to maintain accuracy,
students may be able to successfully compensate for working memory limitation
associated with maths anxiety (Hoffman, 2010).
Overriding any pedagogical and participation practices within the
classroom is a teacher’s attitude. For those teachers that bring maths anxiety
with them into the classroom, it is imperative that their own fears and insecure
feelings are confronted and controlled (Martinez, 1987). To minimise maths
anxiety, teachers need to demonstrate and model a positive attitude, including:
portraying an optimistic disposition and a love for mathematics that shows
mathematics as a cultural tool; promoting the value of maths by the way it
contributes to society; and, getting beyond mathematical myths.
Likewise, supplanting negative attitudes outside the classroom may
mean that teachers need to deliberately involve parents in school mathematics.
Efforts to mitigate the family/societal impact on maths anxiety might include the
organisation of family maths meetings where activities present opportunities to
discover mathematical content along with information about teaching and
reporting approaches (Furner & Berman, 2003). Another way is to invite parents
to be directly involved with students in classroom learning activities, to share
how they use mathematics in their careers, or to participate as a coach or
mentor for particular students (Ellsworth & Buss, 2000). Regular mathematics
‘snippets’ in school newsletters or email communications explaining the
mathematics learning occurring in classrooms and ways to support and
Maths Anxiety: The Fear Factor in the Mathematics Classroom 11
encourage interest in their children may also prompt greater positive parental
involvement in school mathematics (ibid).
Statistical analysis of student’s questionnaire data for the PISA 2003
study (see Lee, 2009) confirm that maths anxiety is an important construct,
distinguishable from maths self-concept and maths self-efficacy. Lee’s analysis
suggested that New Zealand students fare well in maths anxiety stakes in that
our relatively high maths achievement scores, and positive maths self-concept
and self-efficacy scores, are matched by relatively low levels of maths anxiety.
Whilst Lee argues that ‘academic-motivation constructions such as maths self-
concept, maths self-efficacy, and mathematics are inevitably related to the
societal and educational environment’ (p. 363), the negative impact of maths
anxiety on both our students’ short-term learning and long-term relation with
mathematics, and for prospective teachers within the educational system,
remains significant.
Although there is no accurate measure of the number of students within
our classrooms that experience maths anxiety, Jennison and Beswick’s (2009)
recent survey of 40 Year 8 boys in Australia noted that eight students recorded
high ratings on maths anxiety measures. Conservatively estimating the level as
10 percent means that there are several students in each of our classes
experiencing extreme levels of discomfort with mathematics learning. Not many
negative experiences are needed for students to begin a pattern of mathematics
avoidance that lingers for the rest of their lives (Middleton & Jansen, 2011). In
order to redress this pattern of avoidance and the pervasive attitudes towards
mathematics that can frighten and debilitate, maths anxiety is another layer
within the diversity of our students that surely needs our attention. To that end,
this paper has reopened a discussion that has laid largely silent in New Zealand
literature in recent years, and in doing so provides some evidence-based
strategies that are worthy of further teacher investigation.
Aiex, N. K. (1993). Bibliotherapy. ERIC Digests. Bloomington, IN: ERIC
Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. [ED357333].
Bernstein, J. D., Coté-Bonanno, J., Reilly, L. B., Carver, J., & Doremus, M. E.
(1995). Changes in math anxiety levels. New Jersey Research Bulletin,
10, 2-6.
Breen, C. (2003). Fear of mathematics in adults: Moving from insights to
thoughtful enactive practice. Literacy & Numeracy Studies, 12(2), 65-76.
Crooks, T., Smith, J., & Flockton, L. (2010). Mathematics: Assessment results
2009. Dunedin: Educational Assessment Research Unit, University of
Dossel, S. (1993). Maths anxiety. The Australian Mathematics Teacher, 49(1),
Julie Whyte & Glenda Anthony 12
Ellsworth, J. Z., & Buss, A. (2000). Autobiographical stories from preservice
elementary mathematics and science students: Implications for K-16
teaching. School Science and Mathematics, 100(7), 355-364.
Else-Quest, N. M., Hyde, J. S., & Hejmadi, A. (2008). Mother and child
emotions during mathematics homework. Mathematical Thinking and
Learning, 10(1), 5-35.
Farrell, E. F. (2006). Taking anxiety out of the equation. Chronicle of Higher
Education, 52(19), 41-42.
Fraser, H., & Honeyford, G. (2000). Children, parents and teachers enjoying
numeracy: Numeracy hour success through collaboration. London: David
Freiberg, M. (2005). Math that four-letter word! Academic Exchange
Quarterly, 9(3), 7-11.
Furner, J. M. (2004). Using bibliotherapy to overcome math anxiety. Academic
Exchange Quarterly, 8(2), 209-213.
Furner, J. M., & Berman, B .T. (2003). Math anxiety: Overcoming a major
obstacle to the improvement of student math performance. Childhood
Education, 79(3), 170-174.
Gibson, H. (1994). ‘Math is like a used car’: Metaphors reveal attitudes toward
mathematics. In D. Beurk (Ed.), Empowering students by promoting
active learning in mathematics: Teachers speak to teachers (pp. 7-12).
Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Gurganus, S. P. (2007). Math instruction for students with learning problems.
Boston: Pearson Education.
Haylock, D. (2007). Key concepts in teaching primary mathematics. London:
Higgins, J., & Parsons, R. (2009). A successful professional development model
in mathematics: A systemwide New Zealand case. Journal of Teacher
Education, 60(3), 231-242.
Hoffman, B. (2010). ‘I think I can, but I’m afraid to try’: The role of self-efficacy
beliefs and mathematics anxiety in mathematics problem-solving
efficiency. Learning and Individual Differences, 20, 276-283.
Hunter, R., & Anthony, G. (2011). Forging mathematical relationships in inquiry-
based classrooms with Pasifika students. Journal of Urban Mathematics
Education, 4(1), 98-119.
Jennison, M., & Beswick, K. (2009). Students’ perceptions of the impacts of
parents, teachers, and teaching upon their anxiety about the learning of
fractions. In R. Hunter, B. Bicknell & T. Burgess (Eds.), Crossing divides
(Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Mathematics
Education Research Group of Australasia, Vol. 1, pp. 265-272).
Palmerston North: MERGA.
Latterell, C. M. (2005). Social stigma and mathematical ignorance. Academic
Exchange Quarterly, 9(3), 167-171.
Maths Anxiety: The Fear Factor in the Mathematics Classroom 13
Lee, J. (2009). Universals and specifics of math self-concept, math self-efficacy,
and math anxiety across 41 PISA 2003 participating countries. Learning
and Individual Differences, 19(3), 355-365.
Martinez, J. G. R (1987). Preventing math anxiety: A prescription. Academic
Therapy, 23, 117-125.
Middleton, J. A., & Jansen, A. (2011). Motivation matters, and interest counts:
Fostering engagement in mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics.
Miller, H., & Bichsel, J. (2004). Anxiety, working memory, gender, and math
performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(3), 591-606.
Ministry of Education. (2009). Mathematics standards for years 1–8. Wellington:
Learning Media.
Neill, A., Fisher, J., & Dingle, R. (2010). Exploring mathematics interventions:
Exploratory evaluation of the accelerating learning in mathematics pilot
study. Wellington: NZCER.
Nolting, P. D. (2011). Math study skills workbook (4th ed.). South Melbourne:
Cengage Learning.
Scieszka, J., & Smith, L. (1995). Maths curse. London: Puffin.
Shields, D. J. (2005). Teachers have the power to alleviate math anxiety.
Academic Exchange Quarterly, 9(3), 326-330.
Stolpa, J. M. (2004). Math and writing anxieties. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 84(3), 3,
Vinson, B. M. (2001). A comparison of preservice teachers’ mathematics
anxiety before and after a methods class emphasizing manipulatives.
Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2), 89-94.
Walshaw, M., & Anthony, G. (2008). The teacher’s role in classroom discourse:
A review of recent research into mathematics classrooms. Review of
Educational Research, 78(3), 516-551.
Watson, A. (2000). Mathematics teachers acting as informal assessors:
Practices, problems and recommendations. Educational Studies in
Mathematics, 41, 69-91.
Whyte, J. M. (2009). Maths anxiety: The what, where, and how. Unpublished
Masterate research report. Palmerston North: Massey University.
Wolodko, B., Willson, K., & Johnson, R. (2003). Preservice teachers’
perceptions of mathematics: Metaphors as a vehicle for exploring.
Teaching Children Mathematics, 10(4), 224-230.
Young-Loveridge, J. (2010). A decade of reform in mathematics education:
Results for 2009 and earlier years. Findings from the New Zealand
Numeracy Development Projects 2009 (pp. 15-35). Wellington: Learning
Julie Whyte & Glenda Anthony 14
Young-Loveridge, J., Taylor, M., Sharma, S., & Hāwera, N. (2006). Students’
perspectives on the nature of mathematics. In P. Grootenboer, R.
Zevenbergen & M. Chinnappan (Eds.), Identities, cultures, and learning
spaces (Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Mathematics
Education Research Group of Australasia, pp. 583-590). Retrieved from
Zambo, D., & Zambo, R. (2006). Using thought bubble pictures to assess
students’ feelings about mathematics. Mathematics Teaching in the
Middle School, 12(1), 14-21.
Maths Anxiety: The Fear Factor in the Mathematics Classroom 15
Massey University College of Education
An interest in maths anxiety was piqued for Julie
Whyte while teaching at the primary level, where
some students showed a form of fear towards
mathematics. Now a Senior Tutor at Massey
University, Julie aims to develop a positive attitude
for mathematics in her students. Current research
interests include the fear and anxiety students and
teachers may experience about mathematics and
ways these may be overcome.
Massey University College of Education
Glenda Anthony is professor of mathematics education
at Massey University. Her primary research interests
include effective teaching practices within the
classroom and within teacher education. She is the co-
author of the New Zealand Iterative Best Evidence
Synthesis (BES) for effective mathematics teaching
and the Effective Pedagogy in Mathematics
Educational Practice Series produced by the
International Academy of Education.
The opinions expressed are those of the paper author(s) and not the New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work.
Copyright is held by individual authors but offprints in the published format only may be distributed freely by individuals
provided that the source is fully acknowledged. [ISSN-1176-6662]
... This research refers to three aspects of anxiety according to Whyte and Anthony (2012): (1) physiologic aspects, such as heart palpitations and feeling like fainting, pressure on the chest, pacing, loss of appetite, nausea, unable to hold back, urinating, experiencing cold sweats, and flushed face; (2) cognitive aspect indicated by disturbed attention, poor concentration, forgetfulness, thinking barriers, confusion, and fear; and (3) affective aspects shown by easily distracted, impatient, restless, tense, nervous, worried, guilty, and embarrassed. ...
... Observations during the test show that the student looked confused (cognitive aspects) and it was noted that the student looked right and left (Whyte & Anthony, 2012). From the questionnaire answers, the student experienced anxiety in physiological aspects (faster palpitations), as well as cognitive aspects (forgetfulness, disturbed attention, fear, thinking barriers), and affective aspects (guilt, tension, shame, anxiety) (Whyte & Anthony, 2012). ...
... Observations during the test show that the student looked confused (cognitive aspects) and it was noted that the student looked right and left (Whyte & Anthony, 2012). From the questionnaire answers, the student experienced anxiety in physiological aspects (faster palpitations), as well as cognitive aspects (forgetfulness, disturbed attention, fear, thinking barriers), and affective aspects (guilt, tension, shame, anxiety) (Whyte & Anthony, 2012). Furthermore, an interview was conducted related to the questionnaire and the student's answer. ...
Full-text available
[English]: Mathematics anxiety emerges due to discomfort when dealing with mathematical problems, including problems in geometry. This qualitative research aims to analyze how students' anxiety in solving the problems referring to Van Hiele’s levels. The participants were sixty grade 7 students. Data was collected through a test, questionnaire, observations, and semi-structured interviews. It was then analyzed following the stages of condensation, presentation, and drawing and verifying conclusions. The research found that students at the visualization level have moderate anxiety and panic levels, students at the analysis level have moderate anxiety, and students with informal deduction levels have low anxiety. The high level of students' geometric thinking does not necessarily result in lower anxiety or vice versa. Math anxiety is able to encourage students, but at a certain level, it could be detrimental to students. [Bahasa]: Kecemasan matematika timbul salah satunya karena rasa tidak nyaman ketika berhadapan dengan masalah matematika termasuk dalam menyelesaikan masalah geometri. Penelitian kualitatif ini bertujuan untuk menganalisis kecemasan siswa dalam menyelesaikan soal geometri ditinjau dari level Van Hiele. Enam puluh siswa SMP kelas 7 dilibatkan dalam penelitian. Data penelitian dikumpulkan melalui tes, angket, observasi, dan wawancara semi terstruktur. Analisis data dilakukan melalui tiga tahap yaitu kondensasi data, penyajian data, serta penarikan dan verifikasi kesimpulan. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa siswa yang berada di level visualisasi memiliki tingkat kecemasan sedang dan panik, siswa pada level analisis memiliki kecemasan sedang, dan siswa pada level deduksi informal memiliki kecemasan rendah. Tingginya tingkat berpikir geometris siswa belum tentu mengakibatkan kecemasan yang rendah atau sebaliknya. Kecemasan matematika dapat mendukung siswa, akan tetapi pada tingkat kecemasan tertentu, dapat merugikan siswa.
... Researchers have confirmed situational and environmental influences such as high mathematics anxiety in elementary school teachers (e.g. Beilock et al., 2010), negative classroom cultures (e.g., Whyte & Anthony, 2012), and timed tests (e.g., Boaler, 2014). In addition, it has been suggested that lessening students' levels of mathematics anxiety could potentially mediate the relationship between gender and mathematics achievement (Cox & Jacobson, 2020). ...
... In psychology, studies might investigate feelings such as interest and confidence of students (Ganley & Lubienski, 2016), their teachers (Ganley et al., 2019), and their parents (Vanbinst et al., 2020). In education, mathematics anxiety research might be focused on specific classroom interventions (Whyte & Anthony, 2012), ideal learning environments (Harkness & Stallworth, 2013), links to problem-solving (Carpenter et al., 1989;Hoffman, 2010), or timed tests (Boaler, 2014). ...
... Dowker (2019) said this is because those with higher levels of mathematics anxiety have more preoccupying thoughts and mental rumination, which depletes working memory resources crucial to the task at hand. In other words, mathematically anxious individuals might exhibit their knowledge in low-stress, casual classroom settings, but when stressed, their working memory resources could be reduced, and their attention could be diverted by additional stimuli such as fear (Whyte & Anthony, 2012), pain (Lyons & Beilock, 2012), and mental rumination (e.g., Ashcraft & Kirk, 2001;Dowker, 2019); ultimately, their scores could suffer (e.g., Beilock & Willingham, 2014;Ma, 1999). Working memory has been thoroughly researched with younger children (e.g., using subtraction problems that utilizing "borrowing" steps), but there is little research on high-school students' working memory. ...
Full-text available
Despite initiatives to support women in STEM, men still outnumber women in math- intensive fields, and women in mathematics express that they are “on the outside looking in.” Prior mathematics anxiety research has investigated links to performance, and neuroscientists, psychologists, and educational researchers have found gender differences in mathematics anxiety. Past research has identified gendered patterns in classroom compliance, competitiveness, and mathematical confidence. This study examines if and how socialized factors might contribute to gender differences in mathematics anxiety. This research uses an inclusive view of gender, reporting results for sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and gender expression, and recognizing that psychological, social, and biological variables might influence a person’s experiences. While prior studies have often ignored or removed transgender and gender nonconforming persons, their viewpoints are included throughout this study. A series of linear regressions (N = 84) showed students who tended to be “teacher pleasers” were more likely to have mathematics anxiety, while students who were more contentious and/or mathematically confident were less likely to have mathematics anxiety; sex- and gender-related patterns in mathematics anxiety were no longer significant after the inclusion of these variables in the models. The regressions for both sex assigned at birth and gender identity showed teacher pleasing (p < .01), contentiousness (p < .10), and confidence (p < .001) were significant predictors for mathematics anxiety, with R^2 increasing from .07 to .40 and from .10 to .45, respectively. Similarly, the sets of regressions starting with gender expression, showed teacher pleasing (p < .01) and confidence (p < .001) were significant predictors, with R^2 increasing from .08 to .31. Semi-structured interviews with 10 focus students explored experiences related to mathematics anxiety and addressed gendered patterns in compliance, competitiveness, and confidence. Girls were said to be hard workers who were “scared” to speak up in class and memorized procedures, and boys were said to loudly boast about grades or little time spent on assignments. Recommendations for teachers are discussed, like de-emphasizing memorization and cultivating a positive classroom culture. Implications for research include incorporating a nuanced view of gender, developing a mathematical competitiveness construct, researching cognitive disruptions of memorized procedures, and investigating peers’ influence on confidence and the “socialized silencing” of girls.
... The reasons for this may the students' anxiety and some fears towards the mathematics lesson (e.g. Whyte & Anthony, 2012). The students have anxiety are known to be more stressed and tense in the classroom. ...
Full-text available
This study was carried out to determine the behaviors of teachers about classroom management and the effects on their students, through experienced the real cases (or events, or stories) about classroom management written by the pre-service science teachers (PSTs). The stories about classroom management were collected using the documentation technique. The PSTs were asked to write down a real case that they encountered in the classroom environment in their earlier education phases and these collected cases were used as a data collection tool in the research. The study group was consisted of a totally 76 PSTs enrolled junior level in Science Education Department. The PSTs took the “classroom management” course and the presented real cases in the content of an assignment they prepared. The contents of the stories written by them were analyzed descriptively. As a result of the analyzes, it was found out that the classroom management events of the PSTs generally took place in the secondary and high school, in the mathematics course as the course type and in the strictly controlled classrooms as the classroom behavior environment. Also, it was determined that the classroom management events are generally caused by students and the reaction of teachers to these events is generally negative.
... Apparently, Science ERB made PSTs had more fun and positive emotions in general, and less boredom towards science or mathematics than during the Mathematics ERB. Here, various studies [58,59] have shown that, traditionally, most of the college students have exhibited negative emotions like anxiety, fear, or tension in anticipation of situations demanding the application of mathematics knowledge. Mathematics has been generally viewed as a challenging subject, and it sometimes produces more negative emotions than other science disciplines [60,61]. ...
Full-text available
During the last decade, there has been a strong emphasis on developing new instruction methodologies for the effective teaching of different contents. Here, it is important to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, specially, in scientific and mathematical concepts. In the context of active learning and gamification, educational Escape Room – Breakout (ERB) could be a useful strategy to improve students’ affective and cognitive domain towards STEM (science and mathematics). Thus, two didactic tools, based on an ERB, have been designed to teach science and mathematics contents. This research compares the influence of two ERBs (Science ERB and Mathematics ERB) in Pre-Service Teachers’ (PSTs) affective domain (emotions, attitudes, and self-efficacy towards STEM) and cognitive domain (performance). Non-parametric statistical tests were used, the Mann-Whitney U test was applied to measure significant differences between the variables in the two ERBs. Spearman correlation coefficient was implemented to measure the correlations between the study variables. The results show that there is a significant increase in positive emotions in both ERBs. The emotions "joy", "fun", and "nervousness" are significantly higher after the Science ERB, and the emotion "fear" is lower with respect to the Mathematics ERB. In the self-efficacy and attitudes analysis, a significant increase of 8 items of the questionnaire is observed in the Mathematics ERB with respect to the Science ERB. According to performance analysis, PST grades have been increased after each ERB. Finally, the correlation analysis between variables indicates that positive emotions, high self-efficacy, and positive attitudes increase the PSTs’ performance. Here, high values of these variables are related to high values on the theoretical content test after both ERBs. According to these results, the two ERBs used could have several advantages in the PSTs’ affective and cognitive domain.
... General anxiety, such as the anxiety of being tested, judged, and ridiculed, underlies math anxiety, so it seems reasonable that even people who value mathematics may feel some level of math anxiety in some situations (Whyte & Anthony, 2012). This is particularly relevant to math testing anxiety because anxiety related to evaluation is relatively high in the adult student population (Cipora et al., 2015;Hart & Ganley, 2019). ...
Full-text available
The issue of math attitude and math anxiety in STEM students has been till now overlooked. However, the issue occurring in many countries is students' falling out of the STEM education system during their studies. One of the reasons for this problem may be high math anxiety and a negative math attitude among students. The present study fills a gap in knowledge about this phenomenon among STEM students. 371 Polish STEM students filled questionnaires of math attitude (MASA) and math anxiety (MAQA, SIMA, AMAS). The results are as follow: The mean results show that STEM students have a very positive math attitude in affective and cognitive dimensions and a rather positive math attitude in the behavioral area; On average, STEM students feel very weak anxiety related to math problem solving, weak general math anxiety and math learning anxiety, and a moderate level of math testing anxiety; Among STEM students there are those who present a very negative/negative math attitude and very strong/strong math anxiety; Women feel more intense anxiety related to math problem solving, but there is no gender gap in general math anxiety, math learning and math testing anxiety, and in math attitude. The results suggest that math attitude and math anxiety of STEM students should be monitored. Indeed, not all STEM students have a positive math attitude and feel no math anxiety. Moreover, proper interventions are recommended to decrease math anxiety and improve positive math attitude that in turn may prevent the students' dropping out from STEM studies.
The consequences of being anxious towards mathematics can be broad and long-lasting. They include the avoidance of mathematics, the limitation in selecting higher education courses and careers and negative feelings of guilt and shame. Several causes for mathematics anxiety have been reported with past educational experiences, and particularly primary school teachers, taking a sizeable amount of blame. As mathematics anxiety has been described as a wide-spread, detrimental emotion in the classroom, it is pertinent for primary school teachers to be confident in mathematics and well-prepared to be effective teachers of the subject. However, high incidences of mathematics anxiety have been repeatedly reported among in-service and pre-service teachers, and negative correlations found between mathematics anxiety and effectiveness when teaching mathematics. In particular, mathematics anxious female teachers have been found to influence girls’ gender-related beliefs about who is good at mathematics, which in turn negatively affects girls’ mathematics achievement. Given that females make up the majority of the primary school teaching profession in the United Arab Emirates, the context for this study, this is of concern. This chapter looks at the history of mathematics anxiety, and how it is defined and measured. The causes and consequences of mathematics anxiety, and the mathematics anxiety of UAE national pre-service teachers are discussed, and the perpetual cycle of anxiety which must be broken if we want more females in mathematics-related professions. Recommendations for breaking the cycle are made in this chapter.
Full-text available
This study aims to determine the relationship between Mathematics Anxiety Levels with Mathematics Learning Outcomes in upper grade elementary school students in Sidoarjo. The type of research used in this study is a quantitative method with a correlational approach. The population in this study were 185 students. The sampling technique used is the saturated sampling technique. Data retrieval using a Likert model scale, namely the Mathematical Anxiety scale with a reliability of 0.808. And the Final Value of Mathematics Subjects obtained from secondary data in the form of notes (reports) of mathematics learning outcomes. The analysis in this study results in the correlation coefficient (rxy) = - 0.173 and the significance is 0.019 > 0.05, which indicates that the negative hypothesis is accepted. So the results of this study indicate a negative direction between the level of mathematics anxiety and Mathematics Learning Outcomes. That is, the higher the level of mathematics anxiety, the lower the mathematics learning outcomes for upper grade elementary school students in Sidoarjo.
Bu çalışmada ilköğretim matematik öğretmeni adaylarının, öğrencilerdeki matematik korkusu ile ilgili görüşlerinin alınması amaçlanmıştır. Mevcut araştırma, öğrencilerdeki matematik korkusuna neden olabilecek faktörlerin, matematik korkusunu yenmek için ne gibi önlemler alınabileceğinin ve öğretmen, sınıf, çevre ve aile gibi unsurların matematik korkusu üzerindeki etkililiğinin sorgulanarak uygun önlemlerin alınabilmesi adına, eğitimcilere yol gösterecek olması bakımından önem taşımaktadır. Bu doğrultuda çalışmada nitel araştırma desenlerinden durum çalışması kullanılmıştır. Araştırmanın çalışma grubu 2021-2022 Eğitim öğretim yılında Kafkas Üniversitesi Dede Korkut Eğitim Fakültesinde 4.sınıfta öğrenim gören 30 matematik öğretmeni adayından oluşmaktadır. Mevcut araştırma kapsamında veri toplama aracı olarak öğretmen adaylarının görüşlerini ortaya çıkarmak amacıyla araştırmacılar tarafından hazırlanmış, 5 sorudan oluşan bir görüşme formu kullanılmıştır. Araştırma sonucunda matematik öğretmeni adaylarının çoğunluğu öğrencilerde var olan matematik korkusunun matematiğin kendi yapısından kaynaklı olduğunu, matematik korkusuna neden olan öğretmen tutum ve davranışlarının “üslup” olduğunu, matematik korkusuna neden olan aile tutum ve davranışlarının “baskıcı” davranış olduğunu, sınıf ortamı ve çevreden kaynaklı matematik korkusu nedenlerinin çevre başarısı kapsamında “matematikte başarı” sağlanması olduğunu ifade etmişlerdir. Ayrıca matematik korkusunu yenmek için öneri olarak da öğretmen adaylarının çoğunluğu öğretmenden kaynaklı “kullanılan yöntemler” cevabını vermişlerdir.
Full-text available
Matematik, suyun hayatın devamı için var olması misali bilimin temelindeki yerini sürekli koruyarak, medeniyetlerin yükselişinde, ilerlemesinde etkin rolünü oynamaya devam ediyor. Matematik olmadan yaşanabileceğini düşünenleri ilerlemeden mahrum bırakarak gelişmiş toplumların birer oyuncağı haline getirip güçsüz bırakıyor. Kendisi ile ilgilenmek isteyenleri ise üstün gizil gücüyle destekleyerek güvenlik, mimari, ticari, ekonomik gibi birçok alanda geleceğe hükmedecek özellikler kazandırıyor. Bu kadar etkili bir yapı içeren matematiği elde etmek ve onla ilgilenmek de o kadar kolay olmayacaktır. Değerli bir şeyi kazanmak çok emek ve zaman ister. Maalesef günümüzde bu noktada birçok problem kendini göstermektedir. Matematiğe nasıl yaklaşılacağı, onun nasıl öğrenileceği ve nasıl öğretileceği konusunda birçok yaklaşımlar ve araştırmalar yapılmıştır. Günümüzde matematiğin soyut olmaktan çıkarılarak daha somut hale getirilmesine yönelik birçok farklı öğretim yöntemi kullanılmaya başlamıştır. Yeni uygulanmaya başlanan İlkokul ve Ortaokul Matematik Öğretim Programları (1-8.Sınıflar) (MEB, 2018) ile matematik dersi içerisindeki kavramları elden geldiğince somut kavramlara benzeterek öğrencilerin matematiğe karşı oluşan olumsuz tutumları kırmaya çalışılmaktadır. Analoji (Benzeşim) olarak adlandırılan bu yöntem, iki olay veya durum arasında ilişki kurarak ve karşılaştırmalar yaparak, bilinmeyen durumu ya da olayı anlama süreci olarak ifade edebiliriz. Öğrencinin daha önce öğrendiği bilgilerle yeni öğreneceği bilginin ilişkilendirilmesine yardımcı olarak öğrenmeyi kolaylaştıran bir strateji ile anlaşılması zor ya da karmaşık bir kavramın anlatımında kolaylıklar sağlanabilmektedir. Bu noktada analojilerin amacı, öğrenilmek istenilen şeyleri basitleştirerek belli bir kısmına ya da özelliğine göre kavramlar arasında ilişki kurarak öğrenmeyi hem kalıcı kılmak hem de ilişkisel öğrenmeyi gerçekleştirmektir. Analoji oluştururken, ilk defa karşılaşılan yeni bir durum ya da olguyu açıklamak için daha önce bilinen bir olgunun/durumun kullanılması gerekmektedir. Burada ilk kez karşılaşılan ve öğrenilecek/öğretilecek olan duruma “hedef”, bu durumu açıklamak için kullanılacak olan önceden bilinen tanıdık olgu/duruma ise “kaynak” adı verilir. Yapılan çalışmalarda öğrenci ve öğretmenlerin kendi analojilerini geliştirmelerinin daha üst düzey öğrenme için önemli olduğunu ortaya çıkarmıştır. Bu çalışmada da matematik öğretiminde kullanılan analoji örneklerinin neler olduğu ve bu analojilerin nasıl kullanıldığına yer verilmiştir. Matematik öğretiminde kullanılan analojileri tespit etmeyi amaçlayan bu çalışma, nitel yaklaşıma dayalı olarak gerçekleştirilmiştir. Kullanılan analoji örneklerinin tespit edilmesi, bu alanda yapılan çalışmaların (makale, ders kitapları, soru bankaları gibi) ayrıntılı incelenmesini gerektirmektedir. Dolayısıyla bu amacı gerçekleştirmede nitel yaklaşımlarda kullanılabilecek en uygun yöntemlerden biri olan doküman analizi yöntemi, araştırmada yöntem olarak benimsenmiştir. Çalışma sonucunda ilişkilerine, sunum formatına, durumuna, görevine ve zenginlik düzeyine göre analojiler gibi farklı kategorilerde farklı matematiksel analojilerin kullanıldığı tespit edilmiştir.
Flipped learning is a popular pedagogy, and its benefits, challenges and implementations have recently been discussed widely. This study presents the implementation of a new ‘supported’ flipped learning model for teaching foundation-year mathematics, built on mathematics anxiety principles. Effective flipped learning requires a good course structure, and therefore the purpose of this study is to explore student perspectives and experiences of the structure of the supported flipped learning model. Interviews were carried out with students who took a foundation mathematics module between 2016 and 2021 (n = 34), including cohorts who experienced it in blended forms and entirely online. One overarching theme of structure and online working encapsulates six themes forming the discussion: ‘timing is important’; ‘structure of materials’; ‘online enables access’; ‘distractions online and at home’; ‘finding online difficult’; and ‘better than traditional teaching methods’. The results show that students from a range of disciplines, including non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses, are positive about the supported flipped learning model for studying mathematics, believing it superior to traditional teaching methods. The structure of this model gives students a sense of progression while providing a safety net for students with lower levels of self-regulation who often find flipped environments challenging. The structure of lessons, the materials used, and delivery infrastructure are crucial to success. The new model presented here advances current use of flipped learning for mathematics, and potentially other subjects, in higher education. The structure has also been shown to be appropriate for rapid transition to online learning.
Full-text available
In this article, the authors report changes in mathematical disposition, participation , and competencies within a group of Pasifika students as a teacher established the discourse of mathematical inquiry and argumentation. Within a classroom based design approach, the teacher used a communication and participation framework tool to support students to engage in a range of collective mathematical practices. Drawing on analyses of student interviews conducted over one school year, the authors provide a narrative that illustrates how changes in agency and accountability accompanied shifts in the mathematical inquiry discourse. The results show positive learning outcomes for Pasifika students when the general and mathematical obligations attend to the cultural, social, and mathematical well being of all students in mathematics classrooms.
An approach used in a mathematics methods course in which preservice teachers were asked to create visual metaphors of themselves as mathematics learners and teachers.
Math Instruction for Students with Learning Problems, Second Edition, provides a research-based approach to mathematics instruction designed to build confidence and competence in pre- and in-service PreK-12 teachers. This core textbook addresses teacher and student attitudes toward mathematics, as well as language issues, specific mathematics disabilities, prior experiences, and cognitive and metacognitive factors. The material is rich with opportunities for class activities and field extensions, and the second edition has been fully updated to reference both NCTM and CCSSM standards throughout the text and includes an entirely new chapter on measurement and data analysis.
Covering the key principles and concepts in the teaching and learning of mathematics in elementary schools, this text provides trainee and practicing teachers with a quick and easy reference to what they need to know for their course, and in the classroom. The entries are arranged alphabetically, and each contains a brief definition, followed by an explanation and discussion, practical examples, and annotated suggestions for further reading.
This paper reports on the impact of the Numeracy Development Projects (NDP) on the mathematics achievement of students whose teachers participated in the programme in the final year of the initial phase (2009). It also looks back at data gathered in years prior to this and presents an overview of the impact of the NDP on students' mathematics achievement, based on NDP data aggregated over several years (2003, 2005, and 2007) for almost one-quarter of a million students. Analysis of students' gains on the Number Framework for the additive and multiplicative domains shows that students made substantial progress in mathematics as a result of their teachers' NDP professional development. However, the absolute levels on the Framework attained by students were in many cases well short of the numeracy expectations for students at particular year levels stated in The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) and in the Mathematics Standards for Years 1–8 (Ministry of Education, 2009). The implications of these findings for further professional learning and development of teachers in mathematics are discussed.
Autobiographies are an effective tool for assessing students' predispositions toward science and mathematics content and identifying any changes in attitude over time. The purpose of this study was to analyze autobiographies of students enrolled in elementary education methods classes to determine the kinds of K-12 and college content course experiences affecting their perceptions of mathematics or science. Special attention was given to recollections of events that had positive or negative effects on students' interest in and attitudes toward science or mathematics, their confidence in these areas, and transitions in attitude throughout their experiences. Ninety-eight autobiographies were collected and analyzed, revealing attitudes that were generally more positive than expected, five major emergent themes, and important information about when and why transitions in attitudes occurred.
We live in a world full of print. Students who enjoy reading are at a definite advantage, while those who dislike it fall further and further behind.Research shows that identifying how students perceive themselves as readers and how they feel about reading is as important as identifying cognitive skill. Unfortunately, uncovering how students feel is not always easy. In order to understand students' feelings teachers must create situations in which students feel comfortable sharing their inner thoughts. One strategy for doing this is to use thought-bubble drawings. Thought bubbles scaffold expression and make visible what children think and how they feel about reading.Two thought-bubble pictures are presented along with instructions for their use. Samples of student drawings are also provided, along with a coding system so that teachers can interpret their students' drawings.