Pietilä, Meeri-Maija
(Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
Previous studies have implied that math anxiety has negative impact on people's future. The purpose of this study, was to examine which factors explain and predict math anxiety. This study investigates factors which have arisen from previous studies and literature. It has been submitted that math attitudes, parents' attitudes, math skills, gender, hereditary factors, teaching methods and class atmosphere have an effect on math anxiety.
The data used in this study, was collected by the Finnish National Agency for Education in 2008–2012 from Finnish students in sixth and ninth grade. The data was received from the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. In the sixth grade analysis, multiple regression was utilised. Multilevel modelling was used on the ninth grade analysis. The longitudinal analysis from sixth to ninth grade was analysed by multiple regression. For all the analyses, regression models were fitted. Factors which were examined on sixth grade, were math attitudes, math skills and gender. On ninth grade the factors were all the previous, and parents' attitudes, teaching methods and study atmosphere in class. In the longitudinal analysis math anxiety on sixth grade was examined in addition to the sixth grade factors mentioned before.
Sixth grade math anxiety was explained by self-efficacy, liking math, seeing math useful, math skills and gender. Ninth grade math anxiety was explained by self-efficacy, liking math, study atmosphere in class and gender. Sixth grade math anxiety, self-efficacy and liking math predict-ed the amount of math anxiety on ninth grade for both, girls and boys. Study groups differed only marginally from each other on math anxiety on sixth grade. On ninth grade they differed a bit more, but still the group explained only a little of the variance on math anxiety. Girls endure more math anxiety than boys on both grades. The most powerful explanatory factor of math anxiety is self-efficacy. Previous math anxiety is the prime predictive factor of math anxiety.