Maths Anxiety in a First Year Introductory Quantitative Skills Subject at a Regional Australian University – Establishing a Baseline

Emma Gyuris, Yvette Everingham, Justin Sexton

Abstract


Mathematics anxiety is a well recognized and for many students a performance inhibiting impediment. As part of a larger study aimed to guide interventions to improve quantitative skills of science students we investigated students’ entry-level maths anxiety, explored its effect on their performance and observed how anxiety and different assessment schedules interacted to affect performance in a first year compulsory quantitative skills subject. Students’ preferred discipline significantly correlated with anxiety, and students’ performance in invigilated assessment items correlated with mathematics evaluation anxiety, although the pattern of correlation was found to be different in the two years of the study. The many confounding variables that impact on student anxiety and performance make it difficult to identify the extent to which scores achieved on the different facets of Abbreviated Mathematics Anxiety Scale can affect a students’ final score in a compulsory first year quantitative skills subject. Nevertheless, a baseline understanding has been established which, at the very least, raises an awareness of potential issues associated with maths anxiety that can in turn be used to guide any subsequent interventions.

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