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" The Relationship of Math Anxiety and Academic Performance

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Mary Eileen Santiago

on 4 March 2014

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Transcript of " The Relationship of Math Anxiety and Academic Performance

Background of the Study
Conceptual Framework
Statement of the Problem
Research Proposal
" The Relationship of Math Anxiety and Academic Performance of Students in Mathematics"
Theoretical Framework
The study was anchored on the theory of Cognitive Dissonance theory by American psychologist Leon Festinger (1957) and the model on math anxiety by Virginia W. Strawderman, Ph.D. (2010) , which helps the researchers to understand better the students’ attitude and anxiety towards math as a subject.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).

According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement). It is especially relevant to decision-making and problem-solving.

In other hand, the Model of Math anxiety by Strawderman (2010) shows that there are three major domains which are involved with the development of math anxiety. These three domains to study mathematics anxiety are:
social/motivational domain
intellectual/educational domain
psychological/emotional domain





Level of Math Anxiety of Students
Academic Performance of Students in Mathematics
Figure 1 described in the study that if the Level of Math anxiety of students is high the Academic Performance of the students in mathematics subject is low. And if the Level of Math Anxiety is low then the Academic Performance of the students towards mathematics is high.
This study aims to determine the relationship between the math anxiety and academic performance of the students towards mathematics.
Specifically, it seek to answer the following questions:
1. What is the level of math anxiety of the respondents?

2. What is the academic performance of students in mathematics on their first grading period?

3. Is there a relationship between Math anxiety and academic performance in Mathematics?

Figure 1
Anxiety encompasses several disorders that induce nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Anxiety can range from being mild to being severe that has a serious impact on normal everyday life.


Most of the time, we encounter students who dislike Mathematics. This type of negative feelings towards the said subject may be attributed to what we call “Math anxiety”. Feelings of disgust against Mathematics may be a manifestation of fear of it. Hating it by someone may be his/her defense mechanism because he/she is afraid of it on the subconscious level. According to Mark H. Ashcraft, Ph.D. (2002), Math anxiety is a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that interferes with math performance.

Previous research suggests that highly anxious math students will avoid situations in which they have to perform mathematical calculations. Unfortunately, math avoidance results in less competency, exposure and math practice, leaving students more anxious and mathematically unprepared to achieve. In college and university, anxious math students take fewer math courses and tend to feel negative towards math (Ashcraft, 2002).

Students who are struggling with mathematics anxiety have little confidence in their mathematical ability, which in turn can negatively affect the actual performance in a math class. They also tend to take the minimum number of required mathematics subjects. This tendency greatly limits their career options after graduation. “This is unfortunate especially as society becomes more reliant on mathematical literacy” (Scarpello, 2005).

Mathematics is a language all its own. It is full of definitions, vocabulary, symbols and notations that students must know in order to succeed in mathematics. Therefore, the teacher needs to make sure that his students can read and speak the language. The teacher should review basic mathematics skills with his students. Students need to be able to do the basics before they can move on to more complicated problems. Therefore, the teacher needs to make sure that his students can read and speak the language.

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