Hyesang Chang, Julianne Herts. Reducing the link between math anxiety and low math achievement ($50K)

Anxiety about mathematics (math anxiety) is associated with poor math learning and performance outcomes. Studies indicate that this relationship may be due to situational worries about doing math. In particular, anxiety elicited by anticipation (anticipatory anxiety) is one potential factor that may cause math anxious individuals to learn less during math lessons and to perform poorly on a math task assessing this learning. We aim to examine (i) whether math-related anticipatory anxiety is associated with poor math performance among high school students across different socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds, (ii) how these effects can be alleviated, and (iii) what other factors may further explain the relation between math anxiety and math performance. To pursue these goals, we will recruit two groups of high schools with low and high SES backgrounds and examine the effects of anticipatory anxiety and the possible ameliorating effects of an expressive drawing intervention on math performance in students with high and low levels of math anxiety. We will collect other participant variables that may be associated with math anxiety and math performance (e.g., academic interests and motivation, self-efficacy in math) in an attempt to explore various factors that explain the relation of math anxiety to math learning. We predict that lower SES students may experience more math anxiety than higher income students, and that math anxious students of both high and low SES who silently wait for a math lesson will benefit less from the lesson than those who immediately receive the lesson. On the other hand, an expressive drawing intervention during the anticipatory period may boost students’ learning and performance. Results from this study will inform educational practice, and may promote low SES students’ math achievement and STEM success.

Hyesang Chang

Hyesang Chang

(Psychology)

 

Julianne Herts

Julianne Herts

(Psychology)