Relations between Math Achievement, Math Anxiety, and the Quality of Parent–Child Interactions While Solving Math Problem
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Relations between Math Achievement, Math Anxiety, and the Quality of Parent–Child Interactions While Solving Math Problems
· DiStefano, Michela, Retanal, Fraulein, Bureau, Jean-François, Hunt, Thomas E., Lafay, Anne, Osana, Helena P., Skwarchuk, Sheri-Lynn, Trepiak, Philip, Xu, Chang, LeFevre, Jo-Anne, & Maloney, Erin A.
Journal and DOI
· Journal : Education Sciences, 2023, 13(3), 307
· DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13030307
· The role of parents in helping their children with math homework is multifaceted and one rife with debate.
· Researchers suggest that the help of parents who exhibit controlling and intrusive behaviours during homework may hinder children’s math learning.
· Parental math anxiety has been shown to influence the math homework-helping environment and children’s own attitudes and achievement towards math.
What did we ask?
· Is children’s success in math homework related to the quality of the homework-helping interaction?
· Is the parent-child homework-helping interaction more positive for higher math-achieving and lower math-anxious parents and children?
How did we do it?
· We recruited 41 pairs of primary math homework-helping parents (n=34 women) and their children in Grade 5, 6 or 7 (n=25 girls).
· Parent-child dyads participated in a two-hour video-recorded session in which they completed a series of tasks, including a simulated math homework-helping task.
· The quality of the math homework-helping interaction was assessed by two coders using the Parent-Child Interaction Scale.
· Parents and children independently completed a survey that included questions on participants’ math anxiety and generalized anxiety.
· Children’s and parents’ mathematics achievement (i.e., basic arithmetic fluency, numerical operations) was measured.
What did we find?
Relations between the Quality of Interaction and Task Performance
· Participants performed well on the simulated math homework task, however the dyads’ performance varied in relation to the quality of the interaction.
· Dyads who obtained higher scores were observed to have a more positive quality of the interaction (e.g., more relaxed, joyful, intimate, and attuned to each other) and had parents who were more sensitive and respectful to their child’s rhythm.
Relations between the Quality of the Interaction, Math Achievement and Math Anxiety
· Higher math-achieving parents and children interacted more positively during the math-homework-helping interaction.
· The quality of the math homework-helping interaction was more positive for children who reported lower math anxiety.
· Although parents’ and children’s math anxiety were related, parents’ math anxiety was not related to the quality of the homework-helping interaction.
Take away Message
· These findings highlight the importance of the quality of parental math homework help. Identifying the elements that influence these interactions (i.e., math anxiety and achievement) is essential to developing effective interventions to scaffold children’s math learning and attitudes.
Brought to you by Dr. Erin Maloney’s Cognition and Emotion Lab at the University of Ottawa.