The Impacts of Intersectional Identities on Math Cognition and Math Anxiety

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Beginning in an individual’s educational career, math anxiety is likely to follow someone through into adulthood. Current research is being done on the impacts of intersectional identities, such as race and gender, on math cognition and math anxiety. This is exactly what associate professor Clarissa A. Thompson, Ph.D. (she/her), graduate student Charlie Fitzsimmons (he/him), and senior psychology student Tisha Owusua (she/her) have set out to investigate.

Clarissa Thompson

Their research looks at how someone being a racial minority within a community and/or being gender diverse impacts math performance and math anxiety. “Right now, we are looking at intersectional identities and math performance and how math anxiety lasts well into adulthood,” says Tisha Owusua.

Discovering where these difficulties begin and situations in which math anxiety is exacerbated will provide the basis for developing strategies to avoid or manage math anxiety. By identifying where and when these issues occur, teachers and parents may be able to work together to help reduce the impact of math anxiety in their children before it has the opportunity to develop and become entrenched.

“I hope that with our findings, it will lead to the development of interventions to help students and parents as well as teachers, administrators, school psychologists, social workers, and other practitioners involved in the development of children,” says Tisha Owusua.

Tisha Owusua is particularly interested in using this research for the betterment of children by working in schools. She will be starting a Ph.D. program this fall at The Ohio State University for School Psychology.

Tisha Owusua says, “as a future school psychologist, I now look to how we can accommodate students who are struggling with this subject and address this issue early.”

Parents and teachers alike strive to see their children succeed in learning by being creative and curious. By investigating how intersectional identities contribute to success in math and attitudes about math topics, future modifications can be made to improve the learning experience for all students.

“I strive to be the best collaborator and mentor that I can be. I want to conduct research that I can put into the hands of people, specifically teachers and parents, who can use the information to improve the lives of children,” says Clarissa.

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POSTED: Friday, May 13, 2022 - 2:58pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 1:49pm
Ella Wold