The present study pitted the “sex-role” hypothesis against the “math experience” hypothesis in an examination of the relation between gender and math anxiety. The current study sought to investigate the nature of relations among mathematics anxiety, gender, and standardized test performance. Participants (n = Oct 15, However, the assumption of gender differences in math anxiety is still being studied and results are inconclusive, probably due to the use of.
Hopko and colleagues developed a 9-item scale known as the Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale AMAS which was found to have strong test-retest reliability, good internal consistency and validity [ 2241 ]. In comparison to the number of studies that have investigated gender differences in overall levels of MA, relatively few studies have explored whether the relationship between MA and maths performance or maths achievement differs by gender.
Betz [ 12 ] found that correlations between MA and mathematics performance for University students differed according to gender and course: Similarly, Miller and Bichsel [ 24 ] found that MA was more predictive of basic maths performance in males than in females; but MA was not more predictive of applied mathematics performance in either gender. Ma and Xu [ 3 ] also found gender differences in the relationship between MA and achievement. A possible explanation for the findings of a greater relationship between MA and achievement in males is that girls tend to experience MA whether or not they have any intrinsic difficulties in mathematics, whereas MA in boys is more likely to reflect initial problems in the subject.
The general pattern of results suggests that there is a relationship between MA and maths performance or achievement, but that the direction of the relationship is not clear, partly due to the fact that studies have generally been correlational rather than longitudinal.
Also, different studies have used different measures of both mathematical performance and of MA, making their results hard to compare given that some measures used may have been less reliable than others. Given the mixed results in the field it is clear that further research, utilising reliable measures of MA, is necessary to investigate gender differences in MA and the relationship between MA and performance. The current study aims to identify whether a gender difference exists in overall levels of MA in to year-old children, and whether the relationship between MA and mathematics performance differs for boys and girls.
Furthermore the current study controls for test-anxiety which is typically not controlled for in MA studies. It was predicted that girls would report higher MA than boys. It was also predicted that there would be a negative correlation between MA and maths performance for boys and girls, and that this correlation will be stronger for boys than girls. Method Participants secondary school pupils were studied in total.
We decided to exclude the 41 pupils who did not fill out the mathematics test because it was hard to decide whether they did so because they were genuinely unable to solve a single task which is very unlikely or because they were not motivated to respond to the questions. The remaining children girls and boys were included in the sample: Participants attended a rural comprehensive secondary school located in England, UK. The catchment area of the school was predominantly working class and lower-middle class.
Participants and guardians gave appropriate informed written consent. The research was in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration. This is the shortest valid maths anxiety scale — with only 9 items, using a 5-point scale and, as mentioned earlier, has been shown to be just as effective as the longer MARS [ 2241 ] internal consistency: The questionnaire contains 36 items which deal with physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioural reactions during test-taking situations.
This questionnaire was developed many years ago. These values can be considered good. Hence, the TA questionnaire was reliable.
Mathematics performance Custom made mental mathematics tests were used in order to assess mathematical performance. Each year group was given a specific mathematics test suitable for their age range fitted to the content of their school material.
The Year 7 and 8 tests each contained 20 problems and the Year 10 test contained 25 problems. The problems were written in Arabic digits rather than in words in order to minimise effects of reading problems and comprised of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division questions.
We purposefully excluded rote-learned multiplication problems i.
Participants were allowed 5 minutes to complete the mental mathematics test, and were informed of this at the beginning of the session. As previous studies suggest this time pressure is not expected to have a differential effect on the performance of individuals with low and high maths anxiety [ 26 ].
For example, despite gender similarities in math achievements Hedges and Nowell, ; Hyde et al. Moreover, Long found that women are less likely to be full professors, tenured, or hold tenure track science and engineering academic positions.
However, as mentioned earlier, the question of gender differences in math anxiety is still under huge debate e. Cooper and Robinson, ; or Hackett, despite its significance in education and daily life. One variable that might be related to different findings regarding gender differences in math anxiety is the common use of explicit tools such as the math anxiety rating scale e. Alexander and Martray, ; Hopko, to diagnose math anxiety.
Such explicit tools typically assess accessible self-representations. Explicit questionnaires have been the primary method for obtaining information on symptoms of math anxiety and other psychopathology in the school setting, in part because of convenience, standardization, and good psychometric properties as suggested for example in cases of ADHD—Pelham et al.
However, women have consistently been found to score higher than men on self-report measures of trait anxiety e. Indeed, Flessati and Jamieson argued that the gender difference in math anxiety could be explained by the fact that females are more self-critical of math anxiety and of their performance in mathematics. Implicit measures, on the other hand, typically assess inaccessible cognitive structures or presentations that are being processed automatically.
It has been shown that affective traits can be activated automatically and influence emotional, cognitive, or behavioral processes e. That is, affective processing begins immediately and even involuntarily upon seeing a salient affective word or picture. Psychologists use situations where implicit processing is possible in order to study automaticity. One such task, used in the current work, is the priming task, in which an early stimulus i.
In many cases, participants cannot ignore the irrelevant dimension the primewhich facilitates or interferes with the processing the relevant one the target.
Egloff and Schmukle found that the effect sizes of the gender differences in implicit anxiety measures were approximately half as large as the ones in the explicit tests. Such findings suggest that indeed explicit anxiety measures may be influenced although not exclusively by biased self-reports.
That is, differences between implicit and explicit measures have emerged because implicit measures may be free of response factors. Hence, the finding that there were still gender differences in implicit anxiety measures is probably due to pure anxiety factors that lead to gender differences. Accordingly, implicit anxiety measures and more specifically, implicit math anxiety measures may be the way to go when studding gender differences. That is, our main focus is to use the idea of an implicit measure, as a good tool to study anxiety and gender Egloff and Schmukle,in order to study math anxiety which has not been studied so far.
Gender Affects Levels of Math Anxiety | ASCE
Therefore, here, and based on previous work Rubinsten and Tannock,we use a novel arithmetic-affective priming task to study gender differences in math anxiety. Affective priming studies have demonstrated that people respond to target stimuli more quickly after presentation of an affectively related prime stimulus than after one that is affectively unrelated, whether the target involves written words or not e. Participants were simply required to decide if the target was true or false. The authors used this novel arithmetic-affective priming task to study math anxiety, focusing on how the presentation of affective word-primes influences the ability to solve simple arithmetic problems.
It was found that affective priming indeed shows math anxiety.
Gender Affects Levels of Math Anxiety
Specifically, there was a significant difference between developmental dyscalculic DD children, who typically have a basic deficit in math skills and struggle with even the simplest math tasks for review see Rubinsten and Henik,and control children in their reaction time RT to positive, negative, and math related prime words while judging simple math equations to be true or false Rubinsten and Tannock, The ages of the sample ranged from 17 to Ten participants did not report their ages.
All subjects were volunteers and all students in the classes agreed to participate. The items were constructed using a Likert-format scale of five alternatives for the responses with anchors of 1: Eleven items of this instrument were reversed items. These items were given appropriate value for the data analyses. The score was the sum of the ratings. This questionnaire consisted of four questions.
The purpose of these questions was to identify gender, age, ethnic background, and level of math anxiety. Level of math anxiety consisted of four levels none, little, some, high. Exploratory factor analysis of the ATMI using a sample of high school students resulted in four factors identified as self-confidence, value, enjoyment, and motivation.
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- Associated Data
Self-confidence consisted of 15 items. The value scale consisted of 10 items. The enjoyment scale consisted of 10 items. The motivation scale consisted of five items. Alpha coefficients for the scores of these scales were found to be.
Exploring the relationship between math anxiety and gender through implicit measurement
Directions were provided in written form and students recorded their responses on computer scannable answer sheets. Results Tapia found a four-factor solution from an exploratory factor analysis with maximum likelihood method of extraction and a varimax, orthogonal, rotation.
The names for the factors reported were self-confidence, value of mathematics, enjoyment of mathematics, and motivation. Based on that factor analysis, the 40 items were classified into four categories each of which was represented by a factor. A composite score for each category was calculated by adding up all the numbers of the scaled responses to the items belonging to that category.
Cronbach alpha coefficients were calculated for the scores of the scales and were found to be. The data were analyzed by using multivariate factorial model with the four factors as dependent variables: Data were analyzed testing for interaction effect and main effect at the. Hence, it was concluded that there was not enough evidence to indicate a two-way multivariate interaction.