Gender Differences in Statistical Anxiety


Presented by:

Hyen Oh (PSU), Dennis Pearl (PSU), Larry Lesser (UTEP) & John Weber (GSU)

Abstract

Statistical anxiety has been identified (Chew & Dillon 2014) as a key impediment to student success. Nervousness and negative feelings that arise when confronting quantitative information in their daily lives may block students' ability to learn our subject. Factors that might affect statistics anxiety were studied as part of the NSF-supported Project UPLIFT (Universal Portability of Learning Increased by Fun Teaching; DUE# 1141261/1140690/1140592) in a sample of 970 students taking an introductory statistics class at The Ohio State University in Spring 2014. Anxiety was measured using the Statistics Anxiety Measure (SAM; Earp, 2007) and examined for its relationship with gender, course performance, and Student Attitudes Towards Statistics (SATS; Schau et al., 1995). Female students, students who went on to do poorly in the class, and students with negative attitudes towards statistics tended to have greater anxiety in the SAM pre-test. These factors were similarly associated with the post-course anxiety levels, except that the effect of course performance naturally grew stronger. This poster will present some of these results and focus in particular on the effect of gender where female students self report the same level of confidence and anxiety as males that do 5 to 10% worse in their course performance.

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