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.