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Math performance may affect students emotionally

London: If your child is good at maths, chances are that he or she may have an increase in positive emotions, but bad results in maths may trigger negative emotions such as anxiety and boredom, a new study has found.

The findings showed that mathematics — a subject that is known to trigger strong emotions in students — impacted their academic performance for years.

“Successful performance in math increased students’ positive emotions and decreased their negative emotions over the years,” said Stephanie Lichtenfeld from the University of Munich in Germany.

Students with higher intelligence had better grades and test scores, but those who also enjoyed and took pride in math had even better achievement.

While, students who experienced anger, anxiety, shame, boredom or hopelessness had lower achievements.

“In contrast, students with poor grades and test scores suffered from a decline in positive emotions and an increase in negative emotions, such as math anxiety and math boredom. Thus, these students become caught in a downward spiral of negative emotion and poor achievement,” Lichtenfeld added.

For the study, published in the journal Child Development, the team studied 3,425 German students from grades five to nine belonging to different socio-economic backgrounds, whose annual assessments of emotions and achievement in math were evaluated.

While questionnaires measured the self-reported emotions of students, their achievement was assessed by year-end grades and scores on a math achievement test.

Administrators, educators and parents need to strengthen students’ positive emotions and minimise negative emotions relating to subjects in school, the researchers recommended.