Mathematics Anxiety and Performance Among School Students
Objectives of the study
The primary goal of this study is to examine the Mathematics anxiety and performance among school students in Oredo local government area, Edo state. Specifically, the objectives of this study are:
- To determine the causes of students anxiety towards mathematics.
- To examine the performance of students with regards to anxiety in mathematics.
- To examine whether there is a difference in anxiety between male and female students.
In secondary schools, mathematics is a required subject. The study of mathematics was established to generate a competent person who can successfully and ethically utilize mathematical knowledge in everyday life while solving issues and making decisions. The efforts of many sectors to make Malaysia a fully developed nation by 2020 will be hampered by weaknesses among students in understanding mathematics in particular. Mathematics anxiety is a psychological aspect of learning that educators should be aware of. Many studies have been conducted to determine the extent of mathematics anxiety in primary school (Sherman and Wither, 2003; Jackson and Leffingwell, 1999; Steele and Arth, 1998; Yuksel-Sahin, 2008) and secondary school (Sherman and Wither, 2003; Jackson and Leffingwell, 1999; Steele and Arth, 1998; Yuksel-Sahin, 2008; Mohamed and Tarmizi, 2010; Karimi and Venkatesan, 2009; Khatoon and Mahmood, 2010).
Mathematics achievement in kids is influenced by psychological issues such as mathematics anxiety, according to research. In the domain of mathematics, it appears that many students who are weak in mathematics are concerned when attempting to answer problems using math skills (Mohamed and Tarmizi, 2010; Arem, 2003; Rahim, 2002; Tobias, 1995). Marsh and Tapia (2002) discovered that students who have low levels of math anxiety are more eager, confident, and driven to learn mathematics than students who have high levels of anxiety.
When dealing with any scenario involving mathematics, math anxiety is informally defined as feelings of fear, avoidance, and dread. Mathematics anxiety, according to Tobias (1995), is a sensation of stress and worry that occurs while someone is manipulating figures to answer mathematical issues in both academic and everyday circumstances. When dealing with maths anxiety, it’s easy to forget math formulae and lose confidence. It has been discovered that mathematics anxiety is linked to beliefs.
According to Tobias’ research, a large number of female university students change their majors to avoid mathematics. This is due to the belief factor among female students in mathematics, not because these women have a lesser intellectual ability than men. Female pupils stated that they were unable to comprehend and solve previously mastered arithmetic problems. Mathematics anxiety is described as the level of discomfort experienced by pupils in scenarios requiring mathematical assignments that are perceived to be a threat to their self-confidence (Trujillo and Hadfield, 1999). It’s a construct that includes both cognitive and emotive behaviors.
This construct is linked to unfavorable attitudes toward mathematics, math avoidance, math background, teaching conduct, success levels, lack of confidence, and unpleasant educational experiences (Harper and Daane, 1998; Hembree, 1990; Sloan et al., 2002). Mathematics anxiety, according to Puteh (2002), is a recurring process based on information collected by individuals from their surroundings. Individuals’ personal experiences with mathematics are formed as a result of this information, which eventually informs their opinions about mathematics. Because of an overarching concern of not being able to learn mathematics, these beliefs induce behavioral scenarios to avoid mathematics. Teachers, friends, and parents, according to Puteh, are to blame for causing anxiety in math pupils. Mathematics anxiety will be induced if kids believe “mathematics is difficult” during their formative years. As a result of their maths anxiety, these pupils will want to avoid any situation that incorporates mathematics. This will reinforce their idea that they are incapable and lack the necessary knowledge to succeed.
Mathematics anxiety, according to Arem (2009), is an emotional, mental, and physical response to the mathematical thinking and problem-solving process that stems from unpleasant past experiences with mathematics. This type of emotion and experience will have a negative impact on a student’s ability to study mathematics. According to the research, students who have experienced
They will have difficulty trusting in their talents in the future if they are disappointed with their mathematical ability. According to Arem (2009), contributing aspects to mathematics anxiety is caused by poor math experiences, social pressure, and the expectation of excellent results, the drive to excel, myths about math study, societal gender norms, and negative self-talk.
For a kid suffering mathematics anxiety in the classroom, these variables might lead to feelings of severe humiliation. Students with disabilities, according to Arem, avoid meeting face-to-face with their teachers, students with arithmetic anxiety would typically act focused with anything else. They are apprehensive about looking up in class and reacting swiftly.
When their name is called, they become agitated. They are also hesitant to raise their hands, and they grow much more afraid while the teacher is waiting for an answer from them.
In this chapter, we would describe how the study was carried out.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e. mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
Population of the study
A study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitute of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description (Udoyen, 2019). The study population constitute of an estimate of 500 students from the 10 schools (5 public schools and 5 private schools).
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
This chapter presents a summary of data collected from the survey, the data were analyzed and interpreted. It is the focus of this chapter to provide answers to the research questions raised in previous chapter.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The focus of this study was to critically examine with the intention to provide solution to Mathematics anxiety and performance among school students In Some Selected Schools In Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State. This study was reported in five distinct but related chapters. In the first chapter, a problem statement was raised on the need to examine mathematical anxiety among students. However, much emphasis was on the perception of students towards this research problem. This is the unique feature of this study as it examines mathematics anxiety of secondary school students from the perspective of the students. In the second chapter, a review of related and relevant literature were conducted. The literature searched, selected and referenced in this study comprises of mostly empirical local and international researches that aligned with the objectives of the study. In the third chapter, the research approach was spelled out. This study is a quantitative study and hence adopted the survey research design. Students of ten secondary schools in Oredo Local government Area were selected and enrolled after due consent was obtained from the school authorities. A population of 500 students made up the study. Using Taro yamane formula, 121 students responded to the survey. The responses were analyzed, presented and interpreted in chapter four of this project.
The issue of mathematical anxiety has been a long age issues amongst students. Our findings has revealed that there are major causes of mathematics anxiety. The most prominent among them was identified by the students as teaching style of students. Learning is more of a psychological process than a physical exercise, mentally are at the risk of disconnect when the teaching style of the teacher do not capture their attention. This could be due to the teachers’ audibility, gesticulation, side comments, and breakdown of lessons. Teachers overall lesson delivery style affects learning pattern of students in mathematics. More so, other causes includes sample questions and exam question type. Other causes identified by students includes learning environment, learning materials and background influence from family and peers.
Based on the findings as made available from the survey, the researcher makes the following suggestions:
- The teaching style of teachers should be reassessed by school administrators to ensure that it is serving the best purpose of deployment.
- Teachers should provide adequate mathematical information to students. Rigorous questions should not be reserved for test and obviously, examination purposes as it causes anxiety among students.
- Rigorous mathematics process or formula should be broken down in simple steps for students to quickly grasp.
- Side comments of students inability by teachers should be avoided as student once put down in front of other students tends to suffer psychologically. Rather demanding for applause from classmates for students who attempts some questions will serve as a better morale.
- Parents should guide against letting fear into their wards and children on the difficulty of mathematics. Children tend to believe them more than the possibility presented to them by the teachers.
- School authorities should provide or enforce a situation where students have necessary mathematics tools and textbooks needed for improved performance.
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