According to a recent study by Rose Vukovic, NYU Steinhardt professor of teaching and learning, math gives some New York City students stomachaches, headaches, and a quickened heartbeat. In short, math makes these children anxious.
124 + 329 = tummy ache.
“Math anxiety hasn’t really been looked at in children in early elementary grades,” said Vukovic, a school psychologist and researcher of learning disabilities in mathematics. “The general consensus is that math anxiety doesn’t affect children much before fourth grade. My research indicates that math anxiety does in fact affect children as early as first grade.”
Vukovic’s first study, “Mathematics Anxiety in Young Children,” will be published in the Journal of Experimental Education. It explored mathematics anxiety in a sample of ethnically and linguistically diverse first graders in New York City Title I schools. Vukovic and her colleagues found that many first grade students do experience negative feelings and worry related to math. This math anxiety negatively affects their math performance when it comes to solving math problems in standard arithmetic notation.