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Mathematics Anxiety is Real and Needs Classroom Intervention

Update Date: Jul 09, 2012 04:37 AM EDT
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People who get apprehensive while having to answer a math questions could be suffering from Mathematics anxiety. According to a latest research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions, a number of school-age children suffer from this.

Also, while children of both sexes are equally likely to be affected by the anxiety, girls are at higher risk of suffering a poor performance in Math when compared to boys, says the report.

Mathematics anxiety is a state of discomfort associated with performing mathematics tasks and is thought to affect a notable proportion of both children and adults, having a negative impact on their mathematics performance, reports sciencecodex.com.

For the study, Researchers from Cambridge University, UK, studied mathematics anxiety and the affects it had in 433 children including girls and boys in a British secondary school.

The study results found that mathematics anxiety was inversely proportional to their performance skills in math. Also, girls showed higher level of anxiety and it reflected in their performance while solving math problems.  

However, in spite of higher math anxiety, the performance of girls and boys was found to be at par with each other. This indicates that girls could perhaps perform better than boys if not for higher levels of anxiety.

The findings of the study implicate a strong evidence of the existence of mathematical anxiety in secondary school children.

"Mathematics anxiety warrants attention in the classroom because it could have negative consequences for later mathematics education, particularly as it is thought to develop during the primary school years," lead author of the study Dénes Szűcs was quoted as saying by sciencecodex.com.

This study could also explain why the number of students opting for mathematics in the UK is on a decline and only 7% of pupils in the UK study mathematics at A level, says the report.

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