Timed Math Tests & Student Anxiety

-Kim Viliborghi

My Action Research

The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of math anxiety as it relates to timed math computation speed tests. Math anxiety is defined as a general fear or tension associated with anxiety-provoking situations that involve interaction with math. I have had many experiences in my classroom where students were stressed out over these tests and felt that if they did not perform well on them they were not "good at math". I wanted to research just how much anxiety was produced by timing these computation tests and if that in turn affected not only their self-esteem mathematically, but did it also affect their scores.

Therefore, the research questions for my study is: What are student dispositions toward taking timed math computation tests? Given the same length and content, will students perform better on math computation tests when they are untimed?

Moving Forward

In light of these results I will continue to administer math computation tests, however I will be using the untimed tests. I will complement practice of math facts with math games for automaticity. I will also share my results with my colleagues so that they can see the extraordinary difference in scores and disposition and try this strategy for themselves if they are interested. I will consult my team members to discuss the outcomes of this research and discuss the possibility of them implementing the untimed tests exclusively. I will collaborate with them on how to improve the other math computation tests and I will also discuss my results with my Principal so that she can share this with staff if she wishes. In the future I would be happy to lead a professional development lesson about my Action Research in the classroom and share my research for the betterment of our students, and to help create students who are a little less anxiety ridden about mathematics in the future.