From the results of the present study, it shows that there exist no sex differences with regards to all the variables under study, most importantly boys and girls do not differ in term of their mathematical achievement. This finding is in agreement with the study of Hyde, and colleagues (2008) where the children from grades 2 to 11, had no sex difference for math skills. Another study by Spencer, and colleagues (1999) explored sex differences among men and women who had a strong math background. Moreover, it is seen that Intelligence (fluid intelligence) failed to predict mathematical achievement. It is a very common notion that we hold is, performing good in mathematics means that the child or the person has a good level of I.Q, but there is more specificity related to it. Taub, and Benson (2013), revealed that general intelligence does not directly influence the Quantitative Reasoning Skill rather it directly influences the Specific Cognitive abilities and processes which again influence the mathematical reasoning.
Previous literature and present findings both show that Working Memory and Processing speed are positively and significantly correlated with mathematical achievement and predicts mathematical achievement. It is seen that all the components of Working Memory influences mathematical achievement. Recent research viewed, among the important sections of specific cognitive abilities mentioned in C-H-C model, Processing speed is one of the components influencing mathematical achievement. According to McGrew (1997) & Keith (2010), one of the strongest predictors of mathematics achievement is Processing Speed. Moreover, Executive Functioning predicted the mathematical achievement beyond working memory and processing speed. EF might influence achievement in math in several ways. For example, updating could assist in holding relevant information during the problem-solving activity, and in the storage and retrieval of partial results.
Inhibition may suppress inappropriate strategies, or prepotent number representations, retrieval of number bonds, or use of information from a word problem that is irrelevant to the solution. Shifting skills may help to switch between operations, strategic solutions, quantity ranges, and notations, and between the steps of a complex multistep problem and appears to predict both mathematics and reading scores across the developmental ages. (Yeniad et al., 2013). Finally, it was seen that Mathematical Anxiety predicted Mathematical achievement beyond the previous model presented. Both the existing literature and present research showed that Mathematical anxiety is negatively correlated with Mathematical achievement. Mathematical anxiety is a form of fear or tension which is linked with thinking about mathematics or doing tasks where we need to solve mathematical problems. It is seen that Anxiety hampers the performance by deteriorating the cognitive abilities like Working Memory, Processing Speed and Executive Functioning which is evident from the decreasing beta value of these variables while Mathematical anxiety was entered. It even alters the strategic thinking while doing mathematics, thus creating a decline in math performance. Hence, it plays a great role in influencing mathematical achievement, especially in low-achieving students.
Thus, they need special intervention to record success in dealing with mathematical problems. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have found that according to Young, Wu, & Menon(2012), math anxiety is associated with reduced activity in WM-related brain regions i.e; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as well as according to Lyons & Beilock(2012) hyperactivity in brain regions associated with the processing of negative emotions and pain i.e; right amygdala; bilateral dorsal posterior insula. However, metacognitive awareness could not predict mathematical achievement in the present study. Zimmerman (1998) stated that in learning students it is not just enough to have metacognitive knowledge, but they also should have metacognitive regulation and it can get hampered due to the presence of anxiety. But there are ample amount of contradictory studies available. Thus, more light is needed in this area for better, focused and detailed explanations.
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