Mathematical skills are essential to mastering everyday activities, making professional choices, and exercising citizenship in a numerate society. There is extensive evidence of the relationship between math anxiety (MA) and working memory (WM) influencing math attainment. Studies have mainly considered adult samples, however, leaving primary school children almost unexplored. This study is a first attempt to examine how the complex interplay between MA and WM affects math achievement from a developmental perspective. A total of 148 third graders were assessed with WM, general anxiety (GA), MA, and math tasks. Anxiety and WM were assessed at the beginning of the school year when children started attending grade 3, while math achievement was tested twice at the start of grades 3 and 4. The findings seem to confirm that GA has both a direct and an indirect effect (mediated by WM) on math performance in third and fourth graders. MA has a direct effect on math performance in grade 4, but only an indirect effect in grade 3, suggesting MA has a developmental trajectory, becoming stronger over time. The implications in the educational setting are discussed, pointing to the importance of a combined intervention on MA and WM.

The interplay between math anxiety and working memory on math performance: a longitudinal study

Pellizzoni, Sandra;Cargnelutti, Elisa;Cuder, Alessandro;Passolunghi, Maria Chiara
2022

Abstract

Mathematical skills are essential to mastering everyday activities, making professional choices, and exercising citizenship in a numerate society. There is extensive evidence of the relationship between math anxiety (MA) and working memory (WM) influencing math attainment. Studies have mainly considered adult samples, however, leaving primary school children almost unexplored. This study is a first attempt to examine how the complex interplay between MA and WM affects math achievement from a developmental perspective. A total of 148 third graders were assessed with WM, general anxiety (GA), MA, and math tasks. Anxiety and WM were assessed at the beginning of the school year when children started attending grade 3, while math achievement was tested twice at the start of grades 3 and 4. The findings seem to confirm that GA has both a direct and an indirect effect (mediated by WM) on math performance in third and fourth graders. MA has a direct effect on math performance in grade 4, but only an indirect effect in grade 3, suggesting MA has a developmental trajectory, becoming stronger over time. The implications in the educational setting are discussed, pointing to the importance of a combined intervention on MA and WM.
24-dic-2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/3018222
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