Throughout the 20th century, mathematics education in the United States has gone through an ebb and flow of changing pedagogical perspectives. Significant technological advances and their effect upon the economy underscored the importance of mathematics in the modern world (Klein, 2003). Thus, mathematics achievement affects us at both a macro and micro level. At the macro level, math achievement is implicated in national economic competitiveness and longevity. A 2008 report by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel found that the United States is falling behind its international peers in overall mathematics achievement.
At the micro level, mathematics achievement in early education has been correlated to higher salaries and less unemployment. Mathematics achievement is strongly predicted by fractions knowledge past other contributors such as whole numbers knowledge, working memory, etc (Siegler et al., 2012). However, both children and adults struggle with fractions knowledge. Since previous studies have examined fractions knowledge in children, our study examined the types of erroneous strategies that may persist in adult participants when estimating the location of fractions on number lines and comparing the values of two fractions. Additionally, we examined the effect of self-reported math anxiety on fraction performance and strategy use. Math anxiety is detrimental to the performance and overall motivation of students in math courses. We hypothesized that higher math anxiety would correlate with poorer strategy use. Our preliminary results indicate a significant correlation between the lack of strategy use and/or guessing with poor performance in both number line estimation and magnitude comparison.
Clarissa A. Thompson
Alanna W. Feltner
Mathematics achievement is strongly predicted by fractions knowledge past other contributors such as whole numbers knowledge and working memory (Siegler et al., 2012). However, both children and adults struggle with fractions knowledge. Does math anxiety (MA) contribute to this struggle? Since previous studies have examined children’s fractions knowledge, our study examined the types of erroneous strategies that may persist in adults when estimating the location of fractions on number lines and the effect of self-reported MA on fraction performance and strategy use. We hypothesized that MA and fractions knowledge are inversely related. Our results showed that as MA increased, so too did the errors that adults made in the number line task. Furthermore, adults reporting higher MA were less likely to use adaptive estimation strategies.