Statistics Anxiety and Graduate Students Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1160 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Mathematics

STATISTICS ANXIETY and graduate students in the social sciences

Many graduate students in the social sciences need to take statistics as part of the academic training, but these students often do not necessarily have backgrounds in statistics or mathematics from their undergraduate degree or other graduate training. In the classrooms, statistics anxiety is noticeably prevalent among graduate students whose academic background has little statistical training. According to Onwuegbuzie. Slate, Paterson, Watson, and Schwartz (2000), 75% to 80% of graduate students appear to experience uncomfortable levels of statistics anxiety. As a result, conducting statistics is often rated as the lowest skill in terms of academic competence (Huntley, Schneider, and Aronson, 2000).

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Statistics anxiety has been defined simply as anxiety that occurs as a result of encountering statistics in any form and at any level (Onwuegbuzie, DaRos, & Ryan, 1997), and has been found to negatively affect learning (Onwuegbuzie & Seaman, 1995). Many researchers (Lazar, 1990; Lalonde & Gardner, 1993; Onwuegbuzie, 2000b) suggested that learning statistics is as difficult as learning a foreign language. On the other hand, statistics anxiety sometimes is not necessarily due to the lack of training or insufficient skills, but due to the misperception about statistics and negative experiences in a statistical class. For instance, students often think they do not have enough mathematics training so that they cannot do well in statistical classes. With fear of failing the course, they delay enrolling in statistics courses as long as possible, which often leads to failure to complete their degree programs (Onwuegbuzie, 1997). The lack of self-efficacy and higher anxiety in statistics keep many students away from engaging in research work or further to pursue an academic career. Therefore, statistics becomes one of the most anxiety-inducing courses in their programs of study (Blalock, 1987; Caine, Centa, Doroff, Horowitz, & Wisenbaker, 1978; Schacht & Stewart, 1990; Zeidner, 1991).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Statistics Anxiety and Graduate Students in the Assignment

A growing body of research has documented a consistent negative relationship between statistics anxiety and course performance (Zeidner, 1991; Elmore et al.,1993; Lalonde & Gardner 1993; Onwuegbuzie & Seaman 1995; Zanakis & Valenza1997). In fact, statistics anxiety has been found to be the best predictor of achievement in research methodology (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2000) and statistics courses (Fitzgerald et al., 1996). Most recently, Onwuegbuzie (in press b), using pathanalytic techniques, found that statistics anxiety and expectation play a central rolein his Anxiety-Expectation Mediation (AEM) model, being related bi-directionallyto statistics achievement and, at the same time, moderating the relationship betweenstatistics achievement and research anxiety, study habits, course load, and thenumber of statistics courses taken. The AEM model is presented in Figure 1.Onwuegbuzie (in press b) posited that the pivotal role of statistics anxiety in theAEM model suggests that Wine's (1980) Cognitive-Attentional-Interference theorycan be applied to the field of statistics, as it can be to the foreign language learningcontext. According to Onwuegbuzie, Wine's theory predicts that anxiety interferes with performance by impeding students' ability to receive, to concentrate on, and toencode statistical terminology, language, formulae and concepts. Moreover, Onwuegbuzie theorised that anxiety reduces the efficiency with which memory processes are utilised while attempting to understand and to learn new statisticalmaterial, making it difficult to solve statistical problems. Moreover, a causal link between statistics anxiety and course achievement has been established. In particular, Onwuegbuzie and Seaman (1995) found that graduatestudents with high levels of statistics test anxiety who were randomly assigned toa statistics examination that was administered under timed conditions tended tohave lower levels of performance than did their high-anxious counterparts who wereadministered the same… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Statistics Anxiety and Graduate Students.  (2005, July 28).  Retrieved August 4, 2021, from

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"Statistics Anxiety and Graduate Students."  July 28, 2005.  Accessed August 4, 2021.