ERIC Number: ED412116
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-27
Interest and Anxiety in Mathematics.
Mitchell, Mathew; Gilson, Judy
This study investigated 36 mathematics classroom environments that a priori appeared to hold promise as being motivationally effective. Classroom environments from fifth grade through graduate school were selected (N=598 students). In particular, the study measured students' perceived situational interest in the learning environment, individual interest in mathematics (with pre and post measures), and mathematics anxiety (with pre and post measures). The results indicate that environments high in situational interest were associated with substantial increases in the mean individual interest of students and had a beneficial but smaller impact in terms of associated decreases in mathematics anxiety. In addition, there did appear some gender effects with females being more affected by the level of situational interest in mathematics. Finally, the environments appeared to be particularly effective for students with previously low individual interests in mathematics. The study enriches our understanding of the "interest" construct primarily by providing evidence that the situational interest of learning environments may have a much greater impact on individual interests than researchers previously thought. Teachers and practitioners may need to pay as much attention to the motivational effects of mathematics classrooms as they do to the learning effects. Students who have positive affective experiences will be more willing to continue taking mathematics courses or to pursue careers which utilize skill in mathematical thinking. Contains 17 references. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 27, 1997).