Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Math Anxiety in Grades 1 & 2
New research by the University of Chicago found students report worry and fear about doing math as early as first grade. Most surprisingly math anxiety harmed the highest-achieving students, who typically have the most working memory. The research team showed that a high degree of math anxiety undermined performance of otherwise successful students, "placing them almost a half a school year behind their less anxious peers." The researchers recommend trying to reduce anxiety by allowing children an opportunity to draw or write about their math worries before a lesson or assessment. The researchers note that math anxiety comes from a variety of sources: teachers' anxiety about own math ability; parents' anxiety about their own math ability; and a student's own numerical and spatial competencies. This information is useful to share with staff and parents as well as teaching students ways to manage anxiety.