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Journal - Numerical Anxiety

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Journal - Numerical Anxiety
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  NUMERICAL ANXIETY: A FACTOR ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF ZNNHS-STEM STUDENTS ON MATH-RELATED SUBJECTS Keanu Lanz C. Guerra, Maria Eloisa V. Alvina, Carlo Nino S. Sebastian, Keanu L. Dulfo    Abstract The purpose of the study was to investigate the numerical anxiety (NA) of ZNNHS-STEM students and its relationship to their academic  performance on math-related subjects. The study employed descriptive-correlational design with a survey questionnaire developed from MARS-30 Brief corresponding 25 questions with respect to Everyday Numerical  Anxiety (ENA), Performance Anxiety (PA), and Social Responsibility  Anxiety (SRA) and has gathered 224 respondents. Pearson product-moment correlation was utilized to attest the strength NA to their academic  performance, and Independent t-test and One-Way ANOVA to identify the significant difference to NA between sexes and among grade levels, respectively. Results showed that the average grade obtained by the respondents ranges from 90  –  94. In terms of anxiety level, ENA achieved a low anxiety level (  ̅  = 2.58), PA, high level (  ̅  = 3.501), and SRA, moderate level (  ̅  = 3,008). The researchers have then concluded that the respondents met very satisfactory as to their academic performance and are less anxious when it comes to ENA, moderately anxious to SRA, and anxious to PA. An inverse significant relationship was found on their NA and to their academic performance. Meanwhile, a significant difference among sexes was observed with the females being the most anxious. Otherwise was being said among grade levels. Therefore, researchers strongly recommended students to gain positive outlook, and teachers and  parents to devise a strategy for it to lessen such numerical anxiety. Future researchers are also recommended to utilize subjects with high failing rate for the respondents’ academic performance.  Keywords: Numerical Anxiety, Academic Performance, Everyday Numerical Anxiety, Performance Anxiety, Social Responsibility Anxiety Introduction Mathematics is a subject that is usually perceived to be strenuous for the majority of the students as they would usually consider it as the most abstract and conceptually difficult. The complexity of the subject would progress as their level of education rises. It would lead the students to have a hard time on understanding mathematical concepts and processing mathematical problems which would affect their academic performances on math-related subjects. The fear of such would then progress into an anxiety on the field of mathematics especially on numbers. Mathematics anxiety is far more than showing hatred for the subject, it is a true problem for the students. It blocks  the brain's working memory of an individual that would start a self-perpetuating cycle of math avoidance, low achievement, and nervousness. [1] The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has supported the claim with the results from their international assessment in which it states that majority of students would report worry and are nervous in math classes and solving math problems. The mathematics anxiety is interpreted as the individual's feeling of fear that is revolving on the field of mathematics. Past researchers have also established that the mathematics test performance would correspond to the student's performance correlating to mathematics in which the trends shown from different study that mathematics anxiety is inversely proportional to the student's performance in mathematics. With this in mind, the researchers have developed the Debilitating Anxiety Model in which it suggests that students with high level of mathematics anxiety would lead them to perform on mathematics poorly. [2] The concept of numerical anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness towards performing the applications on mathematics especially on numerical manipulation and solving mathematical problems that would give light to both daily and academic situations. This anxiety has been widely utilized as an aspect of mathematics anxiety in which it has been given noticed since the 20th century. [3] The brief version of Mathematics  Anxiety Rating Scale (MARS30-Brief), which was developed by Suinn and Winstons (2003), is a 30-item survey questionnaire which is applied as an instrument for an individual. [4] The items consist of mathematics-related problems that could probably cause anxiety to the respondents. Studies have also shown that the researchers utilized the rating scale for them to develop a five-factor model in which the numerical anxiety has been broken down into three: Everyday Numerical  Anxiety, Performance Anxiety and Social Responsibility Anxiety. It was also believed that the MARS30-Brief is deemed reliable and valid compared to the srcinal 96-item Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale. [5] Existing studies on numerical anxiety mainly utilized college students as their test respondents. In addition, the previous research studies gained their basis for determining the mathematical performance of the students from their College Algebra and Trigonometry subjects, with other math-related subjects being excluded from being determinants of their study. Therefore, the current study was conducted to focus on the effects of numerical anxiety on the performance of STEM students of ZNNHS in all math-related subjects. This study was anchored on two concepts. The Five-Factor Model of Mathematics Anxiety, conceptualized by Pletzer, B., et.al (2016), explains the components of the mathematics anxiety with the aid of the MARS30-Brief. There it was reviewed that the Mathematics  Anxiety is classified into two factors which were then broken down into five sub-factors: the Mathematics Test  Anxiety (Learning Mathematics Anxiety and Evaluation Anxiety) and the Numerical Anxiety (Everyday Numerical  Anxiety, Performance Anxiety and Social Responsibility Anxiety). The three fore mentioned factors were classified in terms of its effect on the individual's numerical anxiety.   According to Pletzer, B. et. al (2016), Everyday Numerical Anxiety incorporates the utilization of number in daily calculations while Performance  Anxiety involves the fear possessed by an individual when he is asked to solve mathematical problems and Social Responsibility Anxiety is connected to the everyday life situations demanding social responsibility that requires mathematical concepts to analyze. The Debilitating Anxiety Theory (Carey, E., Hill, F., Devine, A., & Szucs, D., 2014) in which the linkage of the mathematics anxiety and the performance was connected. The theory suggested that the idea of the reduction of academic performances on math is due to the mathematics anxiety. This was observed from two evidences: 1) mathematically anxious students would unlikely engage with tasks which involves mathematics; and, 2) mathematically anxious students would tend to distract themselves from what they ’re trying to understand and recall. Hence, the researchers synthesized these theory and model to establish the schematic diagram of the study as shown below. Figure 1. The Schematic Diagram of the Study The main purpose of this study was to investigate the numerical anxiety of ZNNHS STEM students and its relationship to their performance on math-related subjects. Specifically, the researchers sought to answer the follow objectives: 1) What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of: a)  Age; b) Sex; c) Grade Level; 2) What is the level of academic performance of ZNNHS STEM students in terms of: a) Mathematics subject; b) Science subject; 3) What is the level of numerical anxiety of ZNNHS STEM students in terms of: a) Social Responsibility Anxiety; b) Everyday Numerical Anxiety; c) Performance Anxiety; 4) What is the level of numerical anxiety of ZNNHS STEM Students in terms of: a) Sex; b) Grade Level; 5) Is there a significant relationship on the numerical anxiety of ZNNHS STEM students to the performance of math-related subjects in terms of: a) Social Responsibility  Anxiety; b) Everyday Numerical Anxiety; c) Performance Anxiety; 6) Is there a significant difference to the level of ZNNHS STEM students’ numerical anxiety in terms of: a) Sex; b) Grade Level? This study was believed to be beneficial for the following: First, the students. The study may aid the students and give them knowledge and information with regards to the mathematical performances and how this would relate to their value of numerical anxiety. Second, the teachers. The study may be able to help teachers, especially those teaching math-related subjects, on gaining broader understanding on their students' mathematical performance and how it can be influenced by different factors, one of which is what is emphasized on the study, numerical anxiety. Third, the parents. The study can provide awareness for the parents in order for them to understand how numerical  anxiety may impact their children's performance on school especially on math-related subjects and give the insights on how to deal with it and possibly help their children with the issue. Last, the researchers. Future researchers may be able to obtain information from this study and utilize it as a reference for their future studies. The researchers would concentrate on the level of numerical anxiety of ZNNHS STEM students and such relationship to their performance on math-related subjects. The level of numerical anxiety was factored out into three sub-factors: the Everyday Numerical Anxiety, the Performance  Anxiety and Social Responsibility  Anxiety. As to the students’ performance on math-related subjects, the value was obtained from the subjects of Science and Mathematics. The study utilized a survey questionnaire developed from the MARS30-Brief for data gathering which comprises of 25 questions that would correspond to the level of the student’s numeri cal anxiety. School grades from Science and Mathematics were harnessed to generate the student s’  performance on the math-related subjects. A total of 224 respondents from the pool of 508 junior high STEM students, with ages ranging from 11 to 19 years and are officially enrolled in ZNNHS-Turno Campus, were employed in this study. The gathering of data was done at ZNNHS of Barangay Turno, Dipolog City with the time frame of July to September of 2019. Methods The current study employed a descriptive-correlational research design which is a design specifically for determining the relationship between two variables, in this case, the numerical anxiety of students and their performance on math-related subjects. The study was conducted at Zamboanga Del Norte Natitonal High School, Turno Campus of Barangay Turno, Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines on a time period of July to September of 2019. STEM students of Zamboanga del Norte National High School (ZNNHS) were the target population of the study. The researchers made use of Slovin’s formula to identify the sample size and stratified random sampling procedure to determine the number of respondents for each grade level. The population of STEM students ranging from Grade 7 to 12 is 508 with a target sample size of 224 (30 students from Grade 7, 32 students from Grade 8, and 25 students from Grade 9, 25 from Grade 10, 68 from Grade 11, and 44 from Grade 12). The researchers harnessed the information of the respondents’ profil e such as their age, gender, grade level and school grades to determine its possible effect on their level of numerical anxiety. The school subjects of the respondents would vary with each grade level, and with that in mind, the researchers utilized the recent standard Mathematics (Grade 7  –  10), Pre-Calculus (Grade 11), and Basic Calculus (Grade 12) of the respondents for their academic performance in mathematics. On the other hand, the researchers have gathered the recent standard Science (Grade 7  –  10), General Biology (Grade 11), and General Chemistry (Grade 12) of the respondents for their academic performance in Science. The grades of the students were interpreted based on the standard grading system of the school: Below 75 (Did Not Meet Any Expectations), 75  –  79 (Developing), 80   –  84 (Fairly Satisfactory), 85  –  89 (Satisfactory), 90  –  94 (Very Satisfactory), and 95  –  100 (Outstanding). The researchers adapted a survey questionnaire by Suinn and Winstons (2003), which was validated through the use of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), and added several items for the variables that are present in the study that are not included in the adapted survey. The instrument includes 25 items that measures the performance anxiety, everyday numerical anxiety, and social responsibility anxiety of the students, as well as their demographic profiles with a 5-point Likert scale, measuring the agreement of the respondents on the items. A valu e of 1 refers to ‘strongly disagree’ while a value of 5 indicates ‘strongly agree’. To test the reliability of the survey questionnaire developed by the researchers, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient formula was utilized. The researchers looked for willing respondents to answer the questionnaire generated for the study. They also assured the confidentiality of the data that was taken and the anonymity of the respondents. The researchers also made sure to respect the rights of the students on whether they desire to decline on answering the survey. Microsoft Excel and SPSS were used to analyze the data gathered by the researchers. The Pearson Product-Moment Correlation was utilized in the study as it is functioned to measure the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables: performance on math-related subjects and level of anxiety. Upon interpreting the r  , the guide by Schober, Boer, and Schwarte (2018) was used. The level of numerical anxiety of students were also described using a rating scale: 1.00  –  1.80 for Strongly Disagree & Very Low Anxiety, 1.81  –  2.60 for Disagree & Low Anxiety, 2.61  –  3.40 for Neither Agree nor Disagree & Moderate Anxiety, 3.41  –  4.20 for Agree & High Anxiety, and 4.21  –  5.00 for Strongly Agree & Very High  Anxiety [6]. One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was also utilized to analyze the significant difference among grade levels to their numerical anxiety. Meanwhile, Independent t-test and One-Way ANOVA were employed to analyze the significant difference between sexes and among grade levels to their numerical anxiety, respectively. With a level of significance of 0.05, the p-value should be less than or equal to 0.05 to establish whether if there is a significant difference or not. Levene’s test was employed beforehand in order to identify whether the data gathered met its homogeneity or not. Results and Discussion Majority of the respondents who have partook in the research study were at the age ranging from 16 -18 garnering 54% of the 224 total respondents. It was followed with the respondents with age ranging from 13  –  15 (31.7%), and respondents with age 12 and below with 30 respondents (13.4%). The students who got the lowest percentage has age ranging from 19 and above with a frequency of 2 (0.9%). As for the sex, female respondents were more frequent with 132 respondents (58.9%) compared to the male with 92 respondents (41.1%). Finally, the students generally came from Grade 11 with 68 (30.4%) which participated as the study’s respondents.  It was tailed by respondents from Grade 12 with 44 respondents (19.6%), Grade
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