Simon Massey

    The Aetiology of Maths Anxiety

    The phrase, “I can’t do maths” has become a common saying in the UK. Further to that, it has become culturally acceptable in the UK to be negative about maths, unlike other life skills. This is due to negative attitudes rather than lack of ability. Negative attitudes lead to negative experiences, and negative experiences of maths has already been linked to impact beyond education in adults associated negative attitudes to numbers with various issues such as debt and unbalanced chequebooks. In order to identify the origin of such attitudes, we must identify the stage were people’s attitudes become negative due to either negative experiences, or learning those attitudes from others.

    The primary aim of this study is to identify key factors associated with attitudes to mathematics in 8-9 year olds. This research is primarily quantitative and aims to establish a representative sample of year 4 pupils in the KS2 education that provides insights into children’s attitudes to mathematics and gender ability beliefs. By recognising whether attitudes are negative or not at the stage of education, we can move closer towards identifying where children’s attitudes develop, and whether those attitudes are associated with certain demographic factors and/or beliefs towards gender ability.

    Research Degree: PhD, Full-time
    Department: Sociology