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Math Anxiety and Math Self-Efficacy Essay

Objective: This is a descriptive-correlational study which investigated the relationship between math anxieties, math self-efficacies and math achievements of maritime college sophomores in Iloilo, Philippines. Method: This research was conducted at the three campuses of St. Therese- MTC Colleges, namely: Tigbauan, La Fiesta, and Magdalo Sites during the first semester of academic year 2004-2005. The participants of the study consisted of 316 maritime sophomores who were chosen using proportional random sampling. The data for this study were gathered using standardized questionnaires.

For mathematics achievement, the mean of their grades in mathematics subjects taken in their first year were used. Basic descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance, t-test for independent samples, and Pearson-Product Moment correlation test were used to analyze data. Result: The study found out that the majority of the maritime sophomores belonged to the “terminal” case of math anxiety or was on the verge of becoming impatient, yet the majority had a high math self-efficacy level. Their math achievements, on the other hand, were generally poor.

They differed significantly on their math achievement when grouped according to math anxiety and math self-efficacy. Finally, negative but significant relationship existed between math anxiety and math self-efficacy and math anxiety and math achievement while math self-efficacy and math achievement were positively and significantly related. In other words, those with low math anxiety had high math self-efficacy and consequently they performed better in math than those with high math anxiety and low math self-efficacy.

Discussion: Results indicated that the higher math anxiety is the lower is math self-efficacy and math achievement. In the same manner, lower math anxiety results to high math self-efficacy which in turn results to high math achievement. This is consistent with studies done by previous researchers like Richardson and Suinn, (1972), and Suinn, et al, (1972) to name a few. Although three decades and cultural differences separated the studies, still similar results have been observed. This only implies that when it comes to factors related to math performance, time and culture have no bearing on the results.

Conclusion: Generally, maritime college sophomores’ math achievements were poor. However, when they were grouped according to math anxiety and math self-efficacy, it showed that those with high self-efficacy had higher math achievement than those with low self-efficacy. Moreover, those with high math anxiety had lower math achievement compared to those with low math anxiety. The study suggests that math educators must look into building students’ confidence in mathematics to overcome their anxiety and thus, improve their overall performance in math.


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