Success in Math and the Relationship with Household Math in One Elementary School

The present study investigated the relationship of student, parent, and household math anxiety and attitudes on a student’s math progress on two assessments, the Houghton Mifflin Math Inventory (MI) which gives a quantile score letting the instructor know what a child is ready to learn, and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), at one elementary school. A student survey was given to 71 fifth-grade students, 57 of whom had a parent also participate in the parent survey. From the survey a score was given with higher scores indicating higher levels of math anxiety. Once the survey was taken and scored students were placed in groups by survey score, parent survey score, student and parent or household survey score, and finally by quantile proficiency level. The results showed that when anxiety levels were raised whether it was the student’s, parent’s, or household anxiety, the mean scores on the MI and CAASPP decreased as survey scores increased. When students were grouped by quantile proficiency levels there was higher levels of anxiety as well. The study also looked at how often parents help with math finding that as anxiety levels rose, parents helped more often and student progress and performance decreased. Finally, it was discovered some of the lowest performing students had parents with a negative attitude toward the Common Core math standards and overwhelmingly the parents of the school believe there are people who are naturally good at math.