A student who has difficulty in understanding
Mathematics can be because of Math Anxiety. Math anxiety is defined as the
feeling of tension and anxiety that affect the performance of students when manipulating
numbers and solving mathematical problems whether it’s just an ordinary day or
academic situations (Sanci, 2014). It can cause the person to forget and lose self-confidence
(Tobias, 1993). Math anxiety can cause lack of self-confidence, because a
student having Math anxiety may feel unwise when comparing themselves with
other students. Embarrassment, peer pressure, high-expectations to one’s
self, and lack of self-confidence can cause students to develop tension and
nervousness that can lead them to low performance to the subject. Commonly, the
tension and nervousness that students felt during an exam may cause
mind-blocked. Thus, students suffering from Math anxiety get lower grades and
lesser achievements in Mathematics.
Researches show that pressure in timed
tests and risks of public embarrassment are some sources of unproductive
tension among many students. Imposed authority, public exposure, and time
deadlines are three factors that cause great anxiety to students. Although
these are regular part of the traditional mathematics classroom, it can still
cause a great deal of anxiety (Philips, n.d.). It seriously affects the
student’s performance and capability of understanding lectures in mathematics.
The more tense, pressure, and conscious a person to what others may think, the
more anxious the person becomes.
have been great variations of assumed reasons for why students develop anxiety
in mathematics. Tobias (1993) analyzed that gender plays a large role in
mathematics anxiety. Outcomes indicated that math
anxiety occurs frequently and is more likely to occur among women and students
with poor high school math backgrounds. Tobias
theorizes that, “Ironically, fear of being too smart may lead to such passivity
in the mathematics class that eventually these girls develop a conviction that
they are dumb.” (Tobias, 1993, p.63). Hembree (1990) does support her
conclusions that women experience more mathematics anxiety. Though, it seems that most students are occasionally subject
to enough anxiety to alter their performance capability.
The type of instructional method that is used in the
classroom is another factor that gives mathematics anxiety to students. Clute
(1984) analyzed how two instructional methods: discovery and expository,
related with students’ mathematics anxiety in an undergraduate mathematics
course. Clute found out that those students with higher levels of mathematics
anxiety scored higher on the achievement test if the format course is
expository while students with lower levels of mathematics anxiety did better
in the discovery format course. Clute came up with a conclusion that there is a
relation between mathematics anxiety and confidence. Students with higher
levels of anxiety would have lower levels of confidence in mathematics.
Therefore, it would be less possible for them to do well in courses where they
would need the confidence to learn the mathematics for themselves.