Girls' Mathematics Performance More Likely to Suffer Than Boys' as a Result of Mathematics Anxiety
If a train is travelling a distance of 55 miles at 150mph, how long will it take to reach its destination? If the thought of having to answer this question makes you apprehensive, then you may have mathematics anxiety. A new study published July 9 in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions reports that a number of school-age children suffer from mathematics anxiety and, although both genders' performance is likely to be affected as a result, girls' maths performance is more likely to suffer than boys'.
The investigators found children with higher mathematics anxiety have a lower mathematics performance, but girls showed higher levels of mathematics anxiety than boys and it was a significant indicator of their performance. The fact that there were no gender differences in maths performance despite higher mathematics anxiety in girls could suggest that girls could have the potential to perform better in mathematics were it not for higher levels of anxiety.
The results from this study provide strong evidence to show that secondary school children experience mathematics anxiety. Lead author Dénes Szűcs commented, "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." Mathematics anxiety could account for the reasons why only 7% of pupils in the UK study mathematics at A level and why the number of students taking maths at university level is in decline.
Full article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120709093115.htm