8th Annual WML Academic Symposium

Time: 9:30
Room: 303
Presenter(s): Melissa Pulley
Title: The Dynamics of Math Anxiety as it is Transferred Through Peer and Teacher Interactions
Developed under the guidance of Prof. Heather Manhart , Mathematics

This research develops a dynamical system to study the prevalence of math anxiety in US education systems. Math anxiety is self-reported discomfort when attempting math, which discourages pursuit of STEM careers. Female students are disproportionately affected by math anxiety. In this paper, the effects of female teachers' math anxiety are modeled as a contagion on female students who may become the next generation of teachers. The purpose of this research is to determine strategies to reduce students' anxiety. We conclude that math anxiety can be reduced if teachers portray more positive attitudes towards math, and colleges recruit non-anxious math teachers.