Cuemath, an after-school live-class program in Math, has published its findings of a survey report which reveals that around 82% of students between Grade 7-10 fear math.
Grade 7 students are in the warm-up phase for high school. However, the survey found that the fear of Math continues as they progress to higher classes. According to the findings, the correlation between perception about Math and performance becomes more significant in higher grades. It said that in Grade 7, one in seven students have negative perceptions about Math concepts, and needing additional intervention, whereas this number increases to one in four in Grade 10.
The survey explored the key factors spread across perception, performance, and confidence for mathematics. With a sample size of 1,600 non-Cuemath students, the survey showed a rising disconnect between students and their learning of mathematics.
According to the report, there are several reasons for the disconnect, the core being the redundancy of conventional teaching. Coupled with it, homeschooling during the pandemic has added to student woes, resulting in loss of interest and fear of mathematics at a critical juncture of their lives.
Speaking on the survey findings, Manan Khurma, First Teacher, and Founder CEO, Cuemath, said,
“Cuemath believes every child can develop their own sense of comfort for math. This can be achieved by incorporating innovative methods of teaching. Knowing the ‘why’ behind applying a formula makes problem solving easier for a growing child. With conventional teaching, it becomes difficult for students to move up the grade ladder and their confidence deteriorates because their foundation remains weak. There is a vital need for newer, more innovative teaching models that can promote intuitive learning. At Cuemath, we aim to make that very foundation solid enough to tackle most difficult math equations and create problem solvers of tomorrow.”
Some of the key highlights from the survey report:
Math proficiency decreases in higher classes
Nearly 6 out of 10 of Grade 7 students seem to be proficient in basic math concepts: Numbers, Applied Math, Algebra, Geometry, and Mensuration. But this drops down to above a third of all students in Grade 8. Class 7 students are most inclined and enthusiastic towards Math but as they move towards higher classes, their motivation levels drop. Board exams add to the pressure and fear of math, possibly making 10th graders perform worse than 9th graders by 6 percentage points. The confidence levels of students in Grade 10 drop by 11% compared to grade 7.
Fear for Math continues
82% of the students surveyed across Grade 7-10 are fearful of Math. Only 2 in 10 students were confident about their math ability; this is supported by the drop in persistence to solve math problems by nearly 14 percentage points (From 23% in Grade 7 to 9% in Grade 10). According to the report, this could be because of concepts getting more and more challenging and rudimentary way of teaching.
Grade 9 and Grade 10 students have low self-belief about math ability
Grade 7-9 students find Algebra and Mensuration difficult, whereas geometry adds to their worries in Grade 10. As for Grade 8 students, it’s applied math (37.10%) that keeps them awake at night.
Surprisingly, the survey found that Grade 7-8 find the magic in numbers attractive, fun (getting 3 out of 4 questions correct), and as they move to senior classes, this translates into their fondness for Statistics and applied math (getting 3 out of 4 questions correct)
Boys vs Girls
Boys outperform girls across grades. But it is most pronounced from Grade 8 to 10. In Grade 7 and 8, girls seem to be more confident, but this deteriorates as they move to higher grades (9 and 10). In the case of boys, their confidence is consistent across all grades, despite their performance.
Adding further, Manan Khurma said,
“The gender gap in performance is a worrying trend which can unfairly affect the future lives of millions of girls and dampening their aspirations. The Cuemath survey reinforces the above fact. However, through the Cuemath Curriculum, we try to bridge the gender divide by citing appropriate contexts and examples in our curriculum (Showing girls and boys outperforming each other in different situations or outnumbering each other in classrooms so that inferences leaning towards stereotypes cannot be drawn) and training teachers to develop a growth mindset. In addition to this, we have girl students who have made successful apps that add value to a human’s life.”
The survey was conducted by Cuemath in the month of June 2021 with a sample size of 1600 students.