Exploring Math Anxiety as It Relates to Math Achievement, Gender, and Race
Merritt, Wanda Denise Pittman
AdvisorPrince, Debra L.
Davis, James E.
Students’ mathematic achievement has not met national, state, or local expectations for decades. The No Child Left Behind Act mandated that by school year 2013-2014, all students in public schools across the nation are to perform at the proficient level or higher in math. The specific problem addressed in the present study was low measures of students’ math achievement in one Mississippi school district. Prior research suggested that math anxiety was a major factor that influenced students’ math performances. Hypothesis 1 for this study stated there is a statistically significant negative relationship between seventh grade students’ math anxiety scores and their math achievement scores. Hypothesis 2 stated there is not a statistically significant difference in measures of math anxiety between 7th grade boys and girls. Hypothesis 3 stated there is not a statistically significant difference in measures of math anxiety between Black and White 7th grade students. To test hypothesis 1, a correlation coefficient was computed using the Pearson Product-Moment Coefficient, also known as Pearson r. To test hypotheses 2 and 3, a t-Test was used to determine whether differences between the means for math anxiety for the two samples were significant. The results of this study indicate that math anxiety and math achievement are negatively related. As math anxiety increased, measures of math achievement decreased. The results of this study also suggest that math anxiety is a general concern for all students, in that there were no differences in measures of math anxiety between boys and girls or Black students and White students. It is very important that teachers take the time to identify students who have math anxiety so they can assist the students by implementing strategies and techniques to eliminate math anxiety for those students who may benefit with higher math achievement.