Math anxiety has recently become a focus in educational psychology and math teaching. Math anxiety refers to feelings of tension and worries that interfere with performance in daily life and school settings. Math anxiety in primary school-age children indicates that its onset can be placed in early years of schooling. Despite the interest in this topic, few studies have begun to investigate math anxiety in young children. In Romania, relatively scarce attention has been paid to the math anxiety among primary school-age children. This study explores math anxiety in a sample of 137 fourth-grade Romanian students (63 boys and 74 girls). We explore how math anxiety relates to math achievement. We also explore gender differences in math anxiety. Math Anxiety Questionnaire (MAQ; Wigfield și Meece, 1988) was used for data collection. The MAQ includes items designed to measure possible cognitive and affective components of math anxiety. Students’ concern about not lagging behind their peers when they were absent from school, as well as their fears about math tests were prevalent in the representation of math anxiety manifestations. Comparative data revealed no significant differences between boys and girls in terms of their MAQ scores. Students with higher math achievement reported lower degrees of negative affective reactions and of worry related to math study. The association between the affective dimension of math anxiety and math achievement was stronger than the association between the cognitive dimension and math achievement. The authors conclude with a discussion of several factors to be kept in mind when working with math-anxious students.
Key words: Primary school-age children, math anxiety, math achievement, gender-based comparisons, correlational data