People who struggle with overcoming math anxiety are not all bad at math. They experience a high amount of stress at performing mathematical tasks, especially under pressure.
Researchers have developed surveys to determine if students have math anxiety. The assessment will vary across a range of results. Often people who report the highest degree of math anxiety do poorly in classes but that is not always the case.
“Just because you’re math anxious, that doesn’t always mean you’re bad at math,” says University of Minnesota educational psychologist Rose Vukovic.
By age 12, many children have already had opportunities for anxiety inducing experiences with math. Vukovic has noted that some children experience math anxiety in the first grade.
Do problems with low math skills trigger stress, or does math anxiety cause underachievement and low scores? Vukovic believes that the two causes feed on each other. She says that research shows that simply addressing math anxiety improves math performance, however, building skills does not always erase anxiety. The suggestion is that regardless of skill level, math anxiety can sabotage tests and math performance.