Do girls report more Mathematics Anxiety (MA) than boys and if so, why?

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Social Sciences

Abstract

There is a gender imbalance impacting interest in mathematics and other STEM-related study and careers with Welsh Government stating that girls' uptake of STEM subjects remains behind that of boys (Welsh Government, 2016). They have increased focus and funding to promote equality of opportunity for girls to continue with physics and mathematics in particular and want to promote positive, gender-neutral perceptions of STEM through projects such as STEM Ambassadors and the Further Mathematics Support Programme. The Mathematics Task and Finish Group recognise that many jobs are, "dependent on [the] ability to calculate and interpret numerically and identify
appropriate mathematical method(s)" (Welsh Government, 2015, p.2). Girls may therefore be at a disadvantage if their disinterest in mathematics results in reduced career choices potentially contributing toward the gender pay gap.

The success of the above initiatives is at risk if we fail to understand the barriers to mathematics experienced by girls. Without research into the reasons underpinning girls' disinterest in (or even aversion to) mathematics, these initiatives may never fully realise their goals. One such possible underlying issue, reported more by girls than boys, is Mathematics Anxiety (MA).

Research Questions:
Do girls report more MA than boys and if so, why?
Do all types of MA follow the same gender pattern?
How is MA associated with subscription to stereotypes?
Which type of MA best predicts performance and interest in mathematics?
At what level might MA be considered 'high'?

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2433432 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2027 Fay Helen Cosgrove