Bilingualism, Math Anxiety, and Math Performance

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The Ohio State University

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As mathematics gains increasing importance with the rapid development of science and technology (Roman, 2004) and as the bilingual population grows in modern society (Lucas, et al., 2008), the need to identify the mutual impacts between mathematics and bilingualism becomes increasingly important. Thus, the present research hypothesizes that the mediating role of working memory capacity in the math anxiety-performance link remains significant in the bilingual population as in the general population and that the language of the math task acts as a moderator in relevant correlations. To test the hypotheses, 46 participants bilingual in English and Chinese were recruited from The Ohio State University. We examined their math performance, working memory capacity, and math anxiety using standardized tests and a bilingual math task. We also measured potential covariates including non-verbal intelligence cognitive skills. A positive correlation between working memory capacity and math performance, but no correlation between math anxiety and math performance, or between working memory capacity and math anxiety was found in the population. No significant moderation effect of the language of the task was found. Results from the study will facilitate future research to bridge the gap between bilingualism and math and contribute to a deeper understanding of math learning among the bilingual population.



Bilingual, Math, Math Anxiety, Working Memory, Language