# Econ 302 Homework Mcleod ~REPACK~

However, there is some evidence that gender differences in mathematics anxiety cannot be reduced to gender differences in general academic self-confidence or in test anxiety. Devine et al. (2012) found that mathematics anxiety has an effect on mathematics performance, even after controlling for general test anxiety, in girls but not in boys. They asked 433 British secondary school children in school years 7, 8, and 10 (11-to 15-year-olds) to complete mental mathematics tests and Mathematics Anxiety and Test Anxiety questionnaires. Boys and girls did not differ in mathematics performance; but girls had both higher mathematics anxiety and higher test anxiety. Both girls and boys showed a positive correlation between mathematics anxiety and test anxiety and a negative correlation between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance. Both boys and girls showed a negative correlation between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance. However, regression analyses showed that for boys, this relationship disappeared after controlling for general test anxiety. Only girls continued to show an independent relationship between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance.

## Econ 302 Homework Mcleod

A second explanation is that mathematics anxiety becomes more closely related to mathematics performance because of changes in working memory. Working memory of course increases with age in childhood (Henry, 2012), which could affect the relationship between anxiety and performance. One study does suggest that the relationship between anxiety and performance is greater in children with higher than lower levels of working memory. Vukovic et al. (2013) carried out a longitudinal study of 113 children, who were followed up from second to third grade. Mathematics anxiety was measured by items from the MARS-Elementary and from Wigfield and Meece's (1988) MAQ. Mathematics anxiety was negatively related to performance in calculation but not geometry. It was also negatively correlated with pupils' improvement from second to third grade, but only for children with higher levels of working memory. This is at first sight surprising given that working memory is generally positively correlated with mathematical performance, and especially in view of the theory that mathematics anxiety impedes performance by overloading working memory. We would suggest that a likely explanation is that among younger elementary school children, only those with high levels of working memory are already using mathematical strategies that depend significantly on working memory, and that therefore these may be the children whose progress is most impeded by mathematics anxiety. This could be one explanation for mathematics anxiety being more correlated with performance more in older than in younger children.