MATH CONFIDENCE AND PERFORMANCE IN UNDERREPRESENTED ETHNICITIES AND LOWER SOCIOECONOMIC STUDENTS

Author(s): 

Zachary Ngo, Undergraduate

Advisor(s):

Amira Ibrahim, Psychology

Discipline:

Psychology

Abstract:

Math is a subject many kids and even adults struggle with, according to UCLA Newsroom “a staggering 60 percent of U.S. students who enter community colleges are not qualified to take a college mathematics course, even though they have graduated high school,” (Wolpert, 2018). Past research has shown that one’s confidence in math is related to better grades in math and less math anxiety. However, it is currently unclear if an individual’s socioeconomic background or ethnicity is related to their confidence in math. This study hopes to fill this gap in the research and offer further insight into the complexity of the relationship between math confidence, math skill, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. By understanding this relationship, schools will be better able to help students from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. The present study recruited undergraduate students from California State University Channel Islands that completed various measures of math confidence, math anxiety, and math skill. We hypothesize that a student’s socioeconomic class will impact their confidence in math as well as lead them to underestimate their math abilities and potential. We also hypothesize that confidence in math is related to ethnicity and that ethnic minorities have lower math confidence than the dominant ethnic population.

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