- There are many studies that find math anxiety impacts how well a kid does in math. This includes performance on timed tests.
- There are pretty much no studies that attempt to find evidence that timed tests contribute to math anxiety. (See this thread for the full conversation.)
- There are a handful of studies (two that I saw) that surveyed teacher candidates and basically asked them what makes them anxious about math. Along with some other things like word problems, timed tests are implicated.
This article lists timed tests as a cause of math anxiety (along with word problems): https://t.co/YnLzmhIZZp
— Max Ray-Riek (@maxrayriek) July 17, 2019
Have a look at 'Maths Anxiety in Sec Students in England' Wiley InterScience, DOI: 10.1002/dys.381
In a sample of >2000 'Having to work out answers quickly' ranked high for all ages, but much higher for dyslexics. End of term maths exam was top for all!
— Steve Chinn (@stevechinnUK) July 17, 2019
- A few people made the argument that “timed tests cause math anxiety” is an untestable hypothesis because it’s unethical. A few researchers chimed in: not untestable in practice, with caveats. (Researchers love caveats.)
I _am_ a researcher, and I don't think it's untestable in principle — but I do think many research designs that could test this question would be unethical.
— Dr. Martha W. Alibali (@mwalibali) July 18, 2019
An Internal Review Board would be okay with a study that makes people anxious if they are fully informed about what might happen when they volunteer, and if you had resources to follow up if they got really anxious.
— Daniel Willingham (@DTWillingham) July 18, 2019
- A few people wanted to know where the evidence was that timed tests don’t cause math anxiety. But that would necessarily involve the same sorts of studies that don’t yet exist; the studies that find a causal connection are precisely the ones that would be useful for showing there is no connection. Anyway, I wasn’t saying either of those things. I don’t have an opinion about the relationship between timed tests and math anxiety.
- Well, OK, I have a few opinions.
- A lot of people told me stories about the stress caused by timed tests. I hear you! Research isn’t the only thing that matters. We should keep telling our stories — about our children, experiences as students, what we’ve learned as teachers. True, it would be wise to hold off on the biggest and strongest proclamations (“WE KNOW THAT TIMED TESTS CAUSE MATH ANXIETY”) but just because something hasn’t been validated by research doesn’t mean that it’s not true.
- But I’m suspicious of much of what YouCubed produces precisely because they present everything as a research result, an absolute law of Brain Science. When you look closer, the research results aren’t there — which isn’t to say that I, Michael Pershan, know that timed tests don’t contribute to math anxiety. Just that there’s a difference between what one thinks and what the research says.