When it comes to mathematics, choking under pressure is more than just a feeling. Researchers say that “math anxiety” affects academic achievement by disrupting students’ short-term memory and their ability to block out distractions or irrelevant information. What’s more, performance pressure may hit the best students the hardest, resulting in uncharacteristically low scores for top students.
Today, the issue is receiving renewed attention from scholars and others who believe that understanding the causes and implications of math anxiety is critical to improving achievement for many students. Researchers are finding that students with math anxiety tend to rush through problems and encounter difficulty on those that require multiple steps.
What do you think? What are the causes of math anxiety? How should educators work with students to help them overcome their lack of confidence in this subject?
A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.