Our country’s common hatred towards math may seem to be unbothered by people, but is actually a crucial factor at stake: We are passing from this generation the phobia of mathematics which primes the incoming generation for mathematical anxiety.
Math anxiety is real and can be happen to anyone at any age regardless of his mathematical ability. Since mathematics is perhaps the most difficult among the major subjects, many students dislike and avoid it. Shores (2005) observed that this math avoidance can turn into a severe case of math anxiety that, in many cases, has been associated with temporary memory impairment and loss of self-confidence especially during tests or other mathematical tasks.
The fear of Math or math-anxiety has been common in our generation. Anxiety is a tension, stress, and strain brought into one’s body and mind defined by (Noting, 2006). According to him, there are two types of somatic that involve the loss of control of the body, having pain in neck sweaty palms, which causes loss of concentration, having negative self-talk, and feeling of doubt or mind wanders from test. It is accompanied by feeling of helplessness because the anxious person feels vulnerable, unable to find a solution to the problem. Moreover, Tobias (1993) defined mathematics anxiety as feelings of pressure and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers, and the solving of mathematical problem in a wide variety of ordinary life, academic situations and can cause a person to lessen one’s self-confidence. According to Hadfield and McNeil (1994) the causes of math anxiety can be divided into three areas: environmental, intellectual and personality factors.
Math anxiety can be a barrier of mathematical achievement, since mathematics is one of the major subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand. Furner and Gonzales (2011) explained that “math anxiety is a real issue that can impact a young person’s goals, many career-related decisions they may make in life and their overall future”. Further, strong mathematical backgrounds are critical for many careers in our every demanding technical society. Meece, Wigfield, and Eccles (1990).Geist (2010) stated that math anxiety and negative attitudes towards mathematics are serious obstacles for children in all levels of schooling. This negative attitude towards mathematics is creating a disparity between levels of mathematics achievement. Helping senior high school students understand the effects of mathematics anxiety is critical. With increased demand for people in STEM fields, it is evident that schools need to focus on young people’s way of understanding mathematics at a level that enables students to enter STEM career fields.
The researchers believe that the phenomenon about Math Anxiety which could highlight its factor inspires them to conduct this research in Saint Columban College of Pagadian City. The participants would be some of the Grade 12 students who choose the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand. This research could help most of the readers, whether suffering from Math Anxiety or not, to at least have their thoughts enlightened of the said topic.
The conceptual framework of this study is depicted in a schematic diagram shown here as Figure 1.
514477052070To get the dominant factor, we are going to conduct a survey.
00To get the dominant factor, we are going to conduct a survey.
Figure 1. The Conceptual Framework of the Study
Statement of the Problem
One of the most prioritized subjects in education is the subject Mathematics. It is a common response that most students are afraid when it comes to the said subject. In connection, there are some students that suffer from what we call Mathematics Anxiety.
In this study, the researchers decide to investigate among these variables to know the factors of Mathematics Anxiety that affects the target environment. Specifically, it sought to answer these questions:
What is the level of math anxiety of the students in terms of?
1.1 environmental factors
1.2 intellectual factors
Which of the following factors is the dominant cause of Math Anxiety?
2.1 Environmental Factors
2.2 Intellectual factors
2.3 Personal factors
Ha: The study hypothesizes that the given factors do not contribute to the Mathematics Anxiety of Grade 12 STEM students
Ho: The study hypothesizes that the given factors do contribute to the Mathematics Anxiety of Grade 12 STEM students.
Significance of the Study
Upon conducting this study, this will benefit the following individual and groups:
Mathematics Teachers. This group will benefit from this study in terms of the result of the survey of the chosen student of STEM strand because teachers would then know how students come up with the subject itself. They would know what makes the student fear the subject (Mathematics) and they might as well find alternatives to make it easier for those students to deal with mathematics.
Parents. The overall result of the survey will benefit this group for it will help them know the student’s situation on having or not having the fear of Mathematics. It will also help them build their relationship with their child stronger. Instead of having wrong ideas such as laziness or lack of interest in class, parents will understand the concept of their children having Mathematics Anxiety.
Students. The result of this research will make this group beneficial because those who do not experience Math anxiety will be aware and more patient to those who suffer Mathematics Anxiety while those who have Math anxiety would relate more and feel that they are not alone, as well as adapt on how to deal with overcoming it.
Other Researchers. The findings of this study would give other researchers some information in conducting related studies.
Scope and Limitations of the Study
Subject Matter. This study focuses on the factors of the student’s math anxiety. The respondents of this study are the students enrolled at the Saint Columban College under the Senior high School faculties. Convenient selections of grade 12 STEM students were the respondents.
Time and Place. The study was conducted in the district of San Francisco, in the division of Zamboanga Del Sur during the school year 2018-2019.
Research Subjects. This study limited its research subject to the convenient selection of grade12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) strand in Saint Columban College, for school year 2018-2019.
Research Instruments. The research instruments use in gathering data is through questionnaire.
Definition of Terms
Anxiety. It is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Environmental Factors. It include classroom issues, parental pressure, and the perception of mathematics as a rigid set of rule.
Intellectual Factors. Include a mismatch of learning styles and self-doubt.
Mathematics. It is the abstract science of number, quantity, and space.
Mathematics Anxiety. It is a negative emotional reaction towards Mathematics as a subject. It has been defined as “a feeling of tension and anxiety that interferes with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in academic situations”.
Mental Disorder. It is a behavioral or mental distress that contributes badly to personal functioning.
Personality Factors. Include a reluctance to ask questions in class and low self-esteem.
Stress. It is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter presents the related literature which is an essential aspect of investigation. Further, helps to study the different facts of the problem. It provides the opportunity of giving an insight into the methods measures and would lead to the improvement of the research design significantly. It is a valuable guide in defining the problem recognizing its significance suggesting the promising data gathering appropriate study design and source of data.
Factors of Mathematics Anxiety
According to Arem (2009), mathematics anxiety is an emotional, mental and physical act related to the mathematical thinking and problem-solving process and resulting from uncomfortable experiences related to mathematics. Feelings and experiences like this will further affect a student’s ability to learn mathematics. Based on the study, students who have experienced disappointment in their mathematical abilities will have difficulty believing in their abilities in the future. Arem (2009) founded that contributing factors to mathematics anxiety are bitter experiences in mathematics, social pressure and the expectation to achieve outstanding results, myths about the study of math, the desire to excel, and negative self-talk. These factors build up feelings of deep shame for the student experiencing mathematics anxiety in their study. According to Arem, students that have math anxious will often appear preoccupied with something else to avoid meeting face-to-face with their teachers. They are afraid to answer in front of the class and quickly panic when their name is called. They are also afraid to raise their hands and whenever the teacher asks them. They even more nervous when they have surprise quiz.
According to Hadfield and McNeil (1994) the causes of math anxiety is divided into three factors; Environmental, Intellectual and Personality factors.
Environmental factor consists of classroom issues, parental pressure, and the perception of mathematics as a firm rule. However, Goulding and Davis (1998) stated that it is a lack of enjoyment in students of mathematics who are emotionally afraid to disappoint their teacher’s expectation. Likewise, Brandy and Bowd (2005) explained that teachers embarrassing students may cause math anxiety. An impatience and insensitivity teachers can contributed mathematics anxiety. Haylock (2003) provides evidence of the negative effect of the teacher’s response failure to understand on the part of learner. While, Rossnan (2006) emphasized that math anxiety could develop as a result of a student’s prior negative experiences learning mathematics in the classroom or at home. In addition to that, most observed failures and substandard performance in mathematics are due to lack of teaching-learning environment (Reusser, 2000). Other studies such as those of Faust, Ashcraft and Fleck (1996), Ashcraft (2002), Aschraft and Kirk (2001), and Brady and Bowd (2005) defined math-anxiety as a form of state anxiety as it is manifested in certain situations. The range of descriptions mentioned above comes about because math anxiety is a broad term used by many individuals to cover a wide range of observed characteristics in students. For example, some use it to describe the supposed cause of physiological symptoms when encountering math, such as sweaty palms, nausea, heart palpitations, a hot tingling feeling, stomachaches or stomach cramps, and/or tightening muscles (Godbey, 1997; Perry, 2004).Intellectual factor composes of mismatch of learning styles and self-doubt. Teaching of Mathematics with speed is revealed as a negative learning experience, it can make students more confused and difficulty in learning Mathematics. Students have different style of learning that’s why teacher should consider their students preference. According to Reid (2008) mismatch between teaching and learning style can cause learning failure, frustration, and lack of interest of the students in math, which can develop self-doubt. According to Van den Bos and Lind (2010) self –doubt is the act or state of doubting oneself, it is a subjective sense of doubt or instability in self-views.
Personality factor include reluctance to ask questions in class and low self-esteem. Asking question is accepts and often vital part of the learning process, however some students are afraid to ask question to their teacher. The reason some the students might be reluctant to ask question according to Alex (2012) are mainly connected to shyness, language problems, relevance, and the teacher’s and student’s roles. The dispositional anchor deals with psychological and emotional features such as attitudes towards mathematics, self-concept, and learning styles. The self- concept represents student perception or belief in self-ability to do well in Mathematics, and is recognized as a key component of mathematics literacy. The situational anchor refers to direct features that result from the developers of the MARS (Math Anxiety Rating Scale) say it “involves feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in a wide variety of ordinary and academic situations” Richardson and Suinn, 1972, p.551). However according (Newstead, 1995) stated that is not easy task to determine the causes of math anxiety, where and how it begins and grows. There is some lack of agreement about the possible causes of mathematics anxiety in children. In his studies the possible causes include teacher anxiety, societal, educational or environmental factors, and innate characteristics of mathematics, failure and the influence of preschool experiences of mathematics. Beginnings of anxiety can often be traced to negative classroom experiences seems particularly strong and well documented (Tobias, 1978; Stodolsky, 1985). In assessment and evaluation system also there is a tendency to develop a negative attitude to the student’s mind.
Effect of Math Anxiety to Academic Performances
The learning of mathematics has something to do with the confidence of the learners in their mathematical performances and the behavior, beliefs, and feelings they have towards mathematics (Coben, 2003). Their perceptions towards the subjects, themselves, and their relationship depend on their will to learn Mathematics (Philippou & Christou, 1998). It is generally accepted that teachers impact learners in many ways. In addition, there is often inefficient classroom interaction, resulting to students’ questions not being expressed and answered, and knowledge is not shared. Frequently, these teaching strategies lead to mathematics anxiety. Mathematics anxiety is known to decrease the efficiency of an individual’s working memory because intrusive thoughts and worries take the concentration away from the mathematics’ tasks at hand. According to Chiu (2000) learners with higher levels of mathematics anxiety tend to have lower levels of performance in mathematics. Mathematics anxiety can influence student’s mathematical performance physically by affecting memory (Kogelman and Warren, 1978) and creating nervousness and inability to concentrate (Tobias, 1978). Cockcroft (1982) found people developing coping strategies for everyday life, and Brady and Bowd (2005) describe people avoiding mathematics where possible.
This chapter presents specific description of the research design, research environment, research subject, sampling technique, research instruments and data analysis and statistical treatment.
The study applied in the quantitative method. Quantitative Method is the systematic empirical investigation of observable situation via statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data gathered. The researchers used the descriptive method which related to the variables that were assessed, since the researcher are dealing of what factor of Mathematics Anxiety that contributes to grade 12 STEM students.
This study was conducted in the Saint Columban College, district of San Francisco, municipality of Pagadian City, Division of Zamboanga Del Sur during the school year 2018-2019.
Saint Columban College is a private educational institution held by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pagadian in municipality of Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Philippines. Established in 1957 as Saint Columban School, it is the largest school among the Diocesan Schools of Pagadian. Columban offers elementary, junior high school, senior high school, and college departments. Saint Columban College is located at Corner V. Cerilles Sagun Streets, San Fransisco District, Pagadian City.
The research subjects of this study are the students enrolled at the Saint Columban College under the Senior high School faculties. Only grade 12 STEM students were the respondents.
Saint Columban College Grade 12 STEM, S.Y. 2018
SECTIONS POPULATION NO. STUDENT
STEM A 42 38
STEM B 40 38
STEM C 37 38
STEM D 44 38
STEM E 48 38
STEM F 36 38
Table 1 above shows the population of the research subject. This study comprises six sections of the grade 12 STEM. Each class we have given 38 students to answer the questionnaires, overall of 228 students.
The researchers used convenient sampling technique of subjects that is a self-selection of individuals willing to participate which is exemplified by the volunteers. It allows the researchers to obtain basic data and trends regarding to the study without the complications of using a randomized sample.
The research instruments used in gathering data is through test questionnaire. The items combined into 7 subscales; (Scale A) “Classroom Issues”, (Scale B) “Parental Pressure”, (Scale C) “Reluctant to ask”, (Scale D) “Perception of mathematics as a rigid set of rules”, (Scale E) “Mismatch of learning styles”, (Scale F) “Self-Doubt/ Low self-esteem” and (Scale G) “I think I experience math anxiety”. This question will be used to find out the dominant factor of Mathematic Anxiety of Senior High School Grade 12 STEM students of Saint Columban College.
In gathering the data, the researchers sought approval to conduct a survey from the president in every section of Grade 12 STEM to address the questionnaire, explaining the purpose of the study and the way of answering the test questionnaires, recovering of the answered questionnaires, and collecting and analyzing of the data gathered.
The data has been treated statistically with the use of the frequency count or percentage score as the statistical tool to identify which factor contributes dominantly to the Math Anxiety of the participants.
In conducting the survey through questionnaires, the names of the respondents were gathered optionally for the sake of security. The researchers made sure to keep the information collected confidential, only those within the group of the researchers will know and deconstruct the results of the survey.
The researchers conducted a survey to determine the level of math anxiety of the STEM students and the dominant factor contributing to its level. There were three factors in the questionnaires that had scenarios given to be answered by the instrument structured with a “yes” or “no”. The target respondents were then asked to check the box in accordance with the approval with the questions in the survey. Data were gathered and analyzed using frequency count or percentage score. Frequency count is a tool that measures the number of times an event occurs.
Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data
This chapter presents the outcome of the collected and analyzed data and interprets the data generated on the Factor that Contribute Mathematic anxiety of Saint Columban College – Senior High School students. The research finding in this chapter is based on the survey questionnaire.
FACTORS FREQUENCY COUNT PERCENTAGE SCORE
Environmental Factor Classroom Issues 135 59.21%
Parental Pressure 123 53.95%
Perception of Mathematics asa rigid set of rules 154 67.54%
Intellectual Factor Mismatch of Learning Style 136 59.65%
Self-doubt 175 76.75%
Personal Factor Reluctance to ask question 118 51.75%
Low Self-esteem 175 76.75%
Figure 1. Factors and their sub-factors
As shown in Fig. 1, there are three factors; Environmental factor, Intellectual factor, and Personal factor. In every factor there were sub factors each. Environmental Factor gathered 59.21% “yes” on Classroom Issues, 53.95% on Parental Pressure, and 67.54% on Perception of Mathematics As A Rigid Set of Rules. Intellectual Factor gathered 59.65% “yes” on the Mismatch of Learning Styles and 76.75% on Self-doubt. Lastly, Personal Factor gathered 51.75% on the Reluctance to Ask Question, and 76.75% “yes” on Low Self-Esteem.
FACTOR FREQUENCY COUNT PERSENTAGE SCORE
Environmental Factor 137.33 60.21%
Intellectual Factor 155.5 68.20%
Personal Factor 146.5 64.25%
Figure 2. Dominant Factor of Mathematic Anxiety
As shown in Figure 2. There are three factors of mathematic anxiety; the first factor is Environmental which gathered the lowest percentage of yes 60.21%, the second factor is Intellectual which gained the highest percentage of yes 68.20%, and the last factor that gathered 64.25% of yes is Personal factor. In these three factors, there is one factor that dominantly contributes to the students in Senior High School grade 12 STEM from having math anxiety.
The overall result shows Intellectual factor is the one which mainly contributes to students from having Math Anxiety composing Mismatch of learning style and Self-doubt. Mismatch of learning style specifically referring to the student’s own way of learning which opposes the teacher’s way of teaching. And Self-doubt refers to the student’s lack of confidence and passion to show and share his/her idea.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This chapter presents the summary of the study. It recalls the questions that this study aims to answer. The conclusion formed based on the research findings is found in this chapter. The recommendations of the researchers from the overall study are also presented.
Summary of Findings
The summary of findings answers the research objectives. The data gathered from 228 respondents were interpreted through chart using percentage score.
What is the level of math anxiety of students in terms of:
This factor has the least percentage among all factors based on the overall result of the data analysis. Grade 12 STEM students of Saint Columban College agree that the environmental factor affects their math anxiety the least, and therefore has the lowest level of contribution math anxiety to students with the percentage of 60.21%.
This factor has the greatest percentage among the three factors of the overall result of the data analysis. The students are mostly affected by this factor. Grade 12 STEM students of Saint Columban College find intellectual factor as the greatest contribution to their level of math anxiety with the percentage of 68.20%
This factor results to be in the average level of the data analysis. Included in this factor were the questions about reluctance and parental issues. Grade 12 STEM students of Saint Columban College find personal factors as an average level when it comes to the contribution to their level of math anxiety with the percentage of 64.25%.
This study aims to identify the level of Math Anxiety of the participants in terms of the given factors: A) Environmental Factors, B) Intellectual Factors, and C) Personal Factors; and which factor is the dominant cause of their Math anxiety. As a result, the Intellectual Factor gathered the most dominant reason to the Math Anxiety of the participants. Included in the said factor are the mismatch of learning styles of the students and their self-doubt.
Based on the study conducted, the researchers would like to recommend the following:
Students. Students may try to advance study to prepare their selves for the next lesson to be discussed to avoid anxiousness during classes. Some should be more patient and gentle with the way they treat students with math anxiety.
Teachers. Teachers may consult their students about the said subject and how they feel about it. They may be more considerate to understand that not all students are confident enough to participate in every discussion and encourage students that Mathematics is easy as long as they can analyze it well; that students get ahead of their feelings and get pressured by the numbers.
Parents. Parents should check on their children on how are they doing academically and know their child’s struggles in school to be able to help them through. They should know their limitations when it comes to expecting from their child’s grades in Mathematics.
Future Researchers. The future researchers can use this study as an information guide about any research that relates to the subjects that students may mentally and emotionally struggle with. Future researchers may also focus on science anxiety and its similarity with this study.
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Full text transcript of the survey questionnaire
Factors that contribute to the Mathematics anxiety of Grade 12 STEM Students of Saint Columban College
The researchers are conducting a survey to find out the dominant factor of Mathematic Anxiety that Senior High School Grade 12 strand of Science Technology Engineering Management of Saint Columban College facing today.
Name (optional):__________________________________________ Section:______________
I.CLASSROOM ISSUES YES NO
My teacher pressures me when it comes to activities/quizzes I feel out of place during discussions and activities. I feel uneasy about going to the board during Math class. II.PARENTAL PRESSURE My parents have high expectations about my grade in Mathematics. III.RELUCTANCE TO ASK QUESTIONS I ask questions during discussions/activities. IV.PERCEPTION OF MATHEMATICS AS A RIGID SET OF RULES I am terrified when I encounter new formulas/lessons because it might be a hard one. I do prioritize Mathematics because if I do not understand one formula, I would not understand the whole lesson. V.MISMATCH OF LEARNING STYLES I prefer taking down notes and searching in Google for the explanations and examples but my teacher prefer me to listen and understand everything during the discussions. I can follow with the discussions no matter what teaching style my teacher uses. VI.SELF DOUBT/LOW SEL ESTEEM I am afraid when my teacher gives surprise quizzes because I might get zero. I am conscious of sharing my answer because I think it’s wrong. I am worried about being called on during Math class because I think I could not answer. I THINK I EXPERIENCE MATH ANXIETY