- Students are often taught to memorize facts and formulas. Yet many who rely on rote memorization experience difficulty applying fundamental mathematical principles to novel or complex problems.

- When students are trained to see the underlying structure that holds true across all levels of problem difficulty, they are more inclined to feel confident and capable when addressing progressively challenging course content. Through understanding how formulas are derived, students learn the underlying principles at play, as well as their appropriate applications. Understanding the mechanics behind math concepts helps students to gain confidence while building a solid foundation.

- Here, students are taught to discern what responses would be reasonable, given the parameters of a problem. Mastering the skill of estimation enables students to gain confidence in their math ability, and helps them to develop critical assessment skills.

- Students hone study skills and problem-solving approaches while learning to mitigate anxieties that can arise in traditional school settings. They are taught to recognize the difference between eustress (healthy adaptive stress that serves as a motivating force) and distress (a maladaptive stress response that interferes with optimal performance).

- One-on-one instruction offers curious, motivated students a place to talk through and explore ideas, solidifying their understanding of the underlying mechanics of math. With individual instruction, students forge connections and excel beyond the confines of traditional classroom instruction.

- Classrooms can be filled with distractions, they follow a set pace, and often cater to specific learning styles, which in turn can lead to conceptual gaps. When students are given an attentive tutor sensitive to each student's unique learning profile, each student gains an unshakable foundation.

Sierra Smart has worked with students and faculty from 30+ schools, in and around Wellesley, MA. She is adept at navigating traditional, Common Core, and Singapore-style instruction. Sierra graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College and enjoys sharing her passion for academics.

When faced with complexity, math-anxious students demonstrate decreases in computational accuracy that are far more pronounced than those of their non-math anxious peers. Anxiety prevents math-anxious students from performing consummate with their ability. While math-anxious students struggle with single-digit operands more so than their less math-anxious peers, these anxiety effects are magnified when numerical complexity increases, as math anxiety interferes with cognitive processing via the reduction of working memory capacity. Findings highlight the impact of math-anxious students’ temporary working memory deficits on demonstrated speed and accuracy in numerical manipulations.

However, math-anxious students were not adversely affected when rote memorization was deemphasized, and the focus shifted towards building a conceptual understanding. Under these conditions, math anxious students performed consumate with non-anxious peers. Therefore, these students benefit from the presentation of progressively complex models where the conceptual framework is understood prior to increasing task complexity.

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