What are the relationships between math anxiety and educational level in parents and math achievement in their children?

Stephanie LeAnn Dahmer, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationship between mathematics anxiety and education level in parents and math achievement in their children. A total of sixty-six families participated in the study. Information from eighty parents and eighty students was used to generate data for this study. Eligible parents for the study were parents of children who took the TerraNova achievement test in 2000 as First, Second, Third, or Fourth graders. Participants completed the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (MARS), consent forms, and a demographic sheet. Student achievement test scores were gathered from the school district. Student scores were from four different types of scores (SS = Scale Score, NCE = Normal Curve Equivalent, NS = National Stanine, and NP = National Percentile) from the three math subtests (MCOMPOS = Math composite, MATH = General math, CMPU = Computation). Parental math anxiety was significant when compared with NCE, NS, and NP scores on the MCOMPOS; NP of MATH; and NP of CMPU. A negative correlation was found between mathematics anxiety and each of these five scores. Parental age, ethnicity and education level were significant predictors of parents' mathematics anxiety levels. In this study, gender was not a significant predictor of math anxiety, contrary to some of the existing research. When examining student test scores, the researcher concluded that gender was significant in one area, the SS on the CMPU subtest. A negative correlation was found. Females outperformed males in computation on the standardized test. Parental education level was a significant predictor of children's math achievement in the following scores: NCE of MATH, CMPU, and MCOMPOS; NS of MATH, CMPU, and MCOMPOS; and NP of MATH, CMPU, and MCOMPOS. Negative correlations were found between parental mathematics anxiety levels and these nine subtests.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Mathematics education|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Stephanie LeAnn Dahmer, "What are the relationships between math anxiety and educational level in parents and math achievement in their children?" (2001). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3024617.