Elementary school teachers’ math anxiety and students’ math learning: A large-scale replication
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Title: Elementary School Teachers’ Math Anxiety and Students’ Math Learning: A Large-Scale Replication.
Authors: Schaeffer, M.W., Rozek, C.S., Maloney, E. A., Berkowitz, T., Levine, S.C., & Beilock, S.L., (2021).
Journal and DOI: Developmental Science. DOI: 10.1111/desc.13080
What did we ask?
Previous research reported that when female early elementary teachers are higher in math anxiety then their female (but not male) students learn less math over the school-year (Beilock et al., 2011). Given the importance of this finding, we sought to replicate it using a large and diverse sample.
How did we ask it?
Using a large and diverse sample of first-grade students (n = 551), we tested students’ math achievement at the beginning and end of first grade, and we assessed the level of math anxiety and math content knowledge of their female teachers.
What did we find?
With a larger sample, we found a negative relation between teachers’ math anxiety and students’ math achievement for both girls and boys, even after accounting for teachers’ math ability and children’s beginning of year math knowledge.
Why is this important?
Our findings strengthen the support for the hypothesis that teachers’ math anxiety is one factor that undermines children’s math learning and could push students off-track during their initial exposure to math in early elementary school. This is important because a solid foundation in math key for children’s long-term academic success!