kitchen table math, the sequel: guess the ending

Monday, February 19, 2007

guess the ending

I defy anyone to guess the ending of this Reuters article on how math anxiety saps working memory. Here's the beginning:

Worrying about how you'll perform on a math test may actually contribute to a lower test score, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.

Math anxiety -- feelings of dread and fear and avoiding math -- can sap the brain's limited amount of working capacity, a resource needed to compute difficult math problems, said Mark Ashcroft, a psychologist at the University of Nevada Las Vegas who studies the problem.

"It turns out that math anxiety occupies a person's working memory," said Ashcroft, who spoke on a panel at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

Now see if you can determine the spin Reuters puts on this seemingly reasonable story by the last three paragraphs before clicking on the link.

3 comments:

Instructivist said...

While the causes of math anxiety are unknown,...

Try the lack of confidence that comes from a lack of skills.


Ashcroft said While the causes of math anxiety are unknown, Ashcroft said people who manage to overcome math anxiety have completely normal math proficiency.

Wow!

So everybody is miraculously proficient without having done the hard work. It's this anxiety.

This has it backwards. People who manage to acquire normal math proficiency overcome math anxiety.

SusanS said...

Try the lack of confidence that comes from a lack of skills.

As the poster child for math anxiety this is exactly what is behind it. It's the wall. And the embarrassment about the wall.

Even now when I'm working out of Saxon's algebra book I check every answer before going on. I have no confidence that I'm going to be right even though I have been most of the time.

It is very hard to shake years of thinking something is wrong with you even when you eventually find out it was sheer lack of practice (not to mention lousy teaching and curriculums) that was the culprit all along.

Catherine Johnson said...

While the causes of math anxiety are unknown, Ashcroft said people who manage to overcome math anxiety have completely normal math proficiency.

???