Math Anxiety, Math Achievement and Math Motivation in High School Students: Gender Effects

Ilija Milovanović


According to the results of previous research, math anxiety is an important determinant of lower math achievement among high school students. Although math anxiety affects both genders, some findings indicate that girls are more prone to its manifestation, but do not explain how the contribution of different math anxiety dimensions to the math achievement depends on the interaction of students' gender and manifestations of math motivation. The aim of this research was to examine the moderation effect of gender in the relation between math anxiety and math achievement mediated by math motivation in high school students. The sample consisted of 514 high school students (45.3% male), aged 15 to 19, from Serbia. The instruments used in the research were the Math Anxiety Questionnaire and Students Motivation to Learn Mathematics Scale, while math achievement was measured as the average grade in mathematics at the end of the first term and at the end of the school year. The results of the moderated mediation analysis pointed out  negative contribution of the math anxiety to achievement in both genders, with a full mediation of Satisfaction among boys, and partial mediation of Satisfaction and Usefulness among girls. Based on the analysis of the obtained results, it can be concluded that it is necessary to apply different motivating strategies in order to overcome math anxiety, which depends on students' gender.

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