Why students fear maths or slowly lost the interest in Maths?

I was recently met with my old friend whose only daughter was opting for Arts because she thought  that  she  is  not  good at Math  and could not cope with it  and  thus  steer away from it , As I moved back some years ago  she was quite good in Maths and securing very good percentage than what’s the reason behind it? “How she lost the interest in Mathematics ?, Why students fear maths ?, Why proportion of Math Interest rate Decreased As Going to Upper Level ? “.

students fear maths

What make students fear Maths and feels that they are not good at Maths?

Some days ago I visited my neighbour’s house and talking with their class  seven  boy and his answers really surprised me. He had some math homework problems which he does not know how to do. His teacher shown examples in class but homework problem is slightly different from that.

Learning Gap or Poor understanding of how to apply and perform mathematical operations developed Math Anxiety in students.

He explained that as his all math knowledge could be taken as separate thread and each one has broken link with each other. He could not understand how to linked all the thread. Teacher explained and he followed but in between “seems a part skipped by them or he could not able to understand in short gap and result of problems written on the blackboard”. The boy concluded that  he was not good at Math and developed fear and math anxiety and hence avoid maths.

Therefore the pressure and lack of confidence he feels when faced with math, “causes brain to freeze and forget even the things he do know”. Once self-doubt sets in, it becomes difficult to recover. Eventually, the student’s ability to perform well in mathematics is hampered forever.

students fear maths

Few days before  when I just entered in hotel, suddenly  I heard some noises of  teenagers student about dividing  the share of  bill amount  between them after receiving  5 % discount on it. Everyone saying different amount and not able to decided the correct amount of share.

These students thought never to know the answers to Math questions, so they always depends on other people to do Math for them and thought Math is too hard or Math is so difficult thus fear from Math.

What Made Question Arises About Students Fear Maths or Students Afraid of Maths?

I talked to many high school students  and disheartened to heard that repeated under performance in Math can cause some of  them to become less eager to  study and believe he or she is not good at the subject. As a result they afraid of Maths.

students afraid of  maths

Why Students Fear Maths

1)Rote learning

For some of these students,  Math is just learning something in order to be able to repeat it from memory, rather than in order to understand it, they cannot even  imagine of understanding because they have never go through it.

Without an understanding of depth concepts, these students cannot  apply Maths as part of a problem-solving process in real life and thus they fear or afraid of maths.

2)Fearful dislike for mathematics

Many students admitted not to like Math. But for some, the issue with math is more than “simply disliking algebra or fractions” and thus afraid of maths.

3)Math Phobia

For some students, doing Math can cause negative emotions like fear of failure, Some feels  apprehension about what’s to come  when  they doing  Math. This harms their ability to perform and they started avoiding maths.

4)Peer Pressure

For some of them the classroom becomes a major source of stress, especially when he or she is taking a test or expected to give answers in class.Hence they fear maths.

5)Math Anxiety 

Some feel  anxious as they have been repeatedly  scolded for getting an answer wrong. The same is true when they embarrassed in front of others or compare with others. As a result math anxiety developed in them.

6)Deadline Time Test

Some of them feel anxious when deadline time test imposing on them and due to that even they forget the concept that they have do easily at home.Thereafter they fear maths.

7)No Excitement or Lack of Stimulation

A lot of students  see mathematics as boring and stressful  as doing the same thing over and over again.

8)Lack of understanding of signs and symbols

Many average students become confused due to so many signs and symbols that are a part of mathematics.They don’t understand their applicability in solving problems and equations and as a result developed Math phobia or  Math anxiety.

9)Inappropriate method of teaching

Sometimes through the method of teaching a student is not able to get the concepts, methods and techniques properly and  lose confidence and fear maths.

10)Lack of analysis the mistakes

Students don’t analysis their mistakes and get demotivated and doubt takes place in their mind and create fear from maths.

Indian Performance At IMO Olympiad since their first participation in 1989.

imo olympiad chart

China has finished # 1 an incredible nineteen times. And this is when they participated for the first time as late as 1985.

India has never finished # 1, with their best finish being seventh (in 1997 and 2001). There is only one more occasion when India finished in single digit: ninth in 2002.

Research Report Shows Why Students Fear Maths

A team of researchers asked 154 children in grades 1 and 2 questions like, “how do you feel when taking a big test in your math class?”

The children had to indicate how nervous they felt by pointing to a position on a scale, ranging from a very nervous face on the left to a calm face on the right. 

research show math anxiety

These researchers found that almost half of the children who participated in the study said that they were at least somewhat nervous about doing math . 

This research tells us that in students fear maths and math anxiety develops from very young age.

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)  2018

1)Report said that 61% of class 8 students from government and private school can’t do simple mathematical division.

2)Only 20.5 % of class 5 students know how to division.

3)The percentage of class 8 students who can divide has fallen from 42.2% in 2016.

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)  2017

1) About 57% of the country’s youth between aged 14-18 years are unable to solve a basic division problem.

2)Nearly 63 percent cannot calculate the amount one requires to pay after a 10 percent discount is applied to a T-shirt.

3)Only 55% of students able to solve the profit loss problems.

Students Fear Maths whereas Around the  world it has been admitted that India is a great source of Mathematician

But recent survey conducted by Quiznext of 120,000 data points of about 7500 students from over 70 Indian cities  corroborated that

1)Maximum students were very good with simple mathematical calculations of three and four digits but lesser than 69% students could accurately calculate discounts and bills.

2)The overall accuracy in solving simple addition and multiplication was 95% but this number gradually reduced with topics such as discounts, simple interest, profit loss etc.

3)It was found out that if a problem consisted of a known keyword, like what percent or what discount is levied on a particular product, students could answer the question with 83% accuracy. This number reduced to 63% when the similar question was slightly modified, this time with no keywords.

 4) 24% in the 14-18 age group could not count currency correctly, 44% could not add weights correctly in kilograms as they were asked to add weights.

5)14% could not recognize a map of India and some 36% couldn’t name the capital of India.

6)Similarly, while 79% could name the state they lived in, 58% could not locate it on a map.

In the survey conducted by CueMath, 1,000 parents from across the country were interviewed for Mathematics subject And Reason of  Why Students Fear Maths

According to the survey,

1) At least 89 % parents feel that Mathematics is the toughest subject for their kids .

2) 77 % of them thinks that the subject is not taught well in schools.

3)Some of the parents revealed that certain children possess a natural aptitude for Mathematics while others find it difficult.

4)About 63 % of parents have also admitted that their child becomes tensed before a Mathematics test.

Graph chart given by CueMath  Survey About proportion of Math Interest rate Decreased As Going to Upper Level 

how students  maths interest rate decreased

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)

The ASER findings serve as a warning ahead of India’s participation in the rigorous Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ie {the survey is conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to test education systems by comparing the test performance of 15-year-old pupils } to be conducted by OECD in 2021.

In 2009, the last time it participated, India was ranked second last among 74 countries and regions, inviting sharp criticism from academics and experts on “how Indian education is impacting the country’s competitiveness to become a global powerhouse“.

A worldwide survey revealed that large proportion of students Fear maths

1) 44% parents in India put too much pressure on children to succeed academically .

2) 81% students reported examination-related anxiety

3) 12% Indian students between the age of 4 and 16 suffer from psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, every one hour a student commits suicide.

The Survey Report  became  more shocking for us as we belong to the country  where Great Indian mathematicians born like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Mahāvīra,Bhaskara , Srinivasa Ramanujan, Shridhara, Mahāvīra,Madhava and Nilakantha Somayaji etc .Whose contribution made immortal.

They giving us the concept of zero, made seminal contributions to the study of trigonometry, algebra, arithmetic and negative numbers and the decimal system that we still employ worldwide . The Indian origin of zero and the decimal system have always been a matter of immense national pride .

TED Ed Video on why students fear Maths or why do people get so anxious about maths

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3 thoughts on “Why Students Fear Maths

  1. Nicely compiled one.
    Let me to share my own part of like/dislike towards mathematics. I never fell under ‘meritorious ‘ student category and never intended to. In my early classes I was not that strong(like?? ) in maths, but later on, may be in class7/8 onwards I started picking up(liking?? ) maths. In a retrospect, when I see it, conclude at a point, that, every thing depends upon your liking/disliking… Agreed, everybody is not blessed with same intelligence level, but, every thing zeroed down to one point i.e, LIKE/INTEREST. Now, how to develop that? Who will play the key role? Is it mind or something else!!!The whole things get jumbled up.. The only best solution is “TEACHER”. I’m into academic /sports and performed with many national level players. In my both field I conclude that, its the teacher who can put interest (like) in students into any field. The teacher need not have to be very excellent in academic /sports, but if he can make the mathematics /sports interesting then the students will achieve many more in that field. Datas show us the final result, but before that we must have some means to know how the teacher teches pupil. Simple degree won’t do, they should undergo various “soft skill” of teching continuously.
    The above is my own view.
    Lata, your blogs are worth reading. Keep writing.

  2. If we help students to learn mathematics by connecting it with their daily life and near envirnment then they will enjoy and learn in more effectively

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