American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting
Theme: Leveraging Educational Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence
April 5-9, 2019
Title: Anxiety and Children's Math Learning: Testing an Expressive Writing Intervention (Poster)
Session: Diverse Topics in Mathematics Education
Authors: Almaz Mesghina, Lindsey Richland
Abstract: Feeling anxious prior to a test can induce worries, which tax working memory (WM) resources and harm performance. Expressive writing, or writing about one’s thoughts and feelings, can improve performance by reducing worry and freeing up WM. However, the few studies to have examined expressive writing in academic contexts have only examined adults’ test performance, failing to consider (1) children’s still-developing emotion regulation skills, (2) sex differences in children’s quality of writing, and (3) how initial learning may be impacted. Therefore, we examine the role of expressive writing on 297 middle schoolers’ learning of ratio. Expressive writing was related to increased anxiety in all students, and substantially diminished learning gains for females specifically. Developmental implications of such findings are considered.