Predicting Maths Anxiety From Mathematical Achievement Across the Transition From Primary to Secondary Education

Field, Andy P.; Evans, Danielle; Bloniewski, Tomasz and Kovas, Yulia. 2019. Predicting Maths Anxiety From Mathematical Achievement Across the Transition From Primary to Secondary Education. Royal Society Open Science, 6(11), [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The primary- to secondary-education transition is a substantive life event for many children. The transition can be associated with changes in the developmental trajectories of both emotional health and academic achievement. The current study looked at whether the trajectory of mathematical attainment and emotional health (anxiety) across this transition predicted later maths anxiety. A secondary analysis of data from the Twin Early Development Study (TEDS) was performed. The statistical models were fit on the 753 participants (one from each twin pair) for which there were measures of mathematical performance across the primary- to secondary-education transition and maths anxiety at age 18. Two multilevel growth modes were fit predicting mathematical attainment and anxiety over the primary- to secondary-education transition. The intercepts and slopes for each child were extracted from these models and used as predictors of subsequent maths anxiety at age 18. These effects were adjusted for biological sex, socio-economic status, verbal cognitive ability and general anxiety. Maths anxiety at age 18 was significantly predicted by both pre-transition levels of anxiety and mathematical attainment and their rate of change across the primary- to secondary-education transition. However, the effects were small suggesting that theories of maths anxiety may have overplayed the role of prior mathematical attainment and general anxiety.

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Article Number: 191459

The authors gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the participants in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) and their families. TEDS is supported by a programme grant to Robert Plomin from the UK Medical Research Council (MR/M021475/1 and previously G0901245), with additional support from the US National Institutes of Health (AG046938). The research leading to these results has also received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) grant agreement no. 602768 and ERC grant agreement no. 295366.


Maths, Anxiety, Education

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31 October 2019Accepted
27 November 2019Published

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27 Nov 2019 10:44

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14 Jun 2021 20:52

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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