There are a lot of people (young and old) who hate or fear math, and their feelings and attitudes about math have serious consequences – poor grades, loss of self-esteem, a limitation of career choices - just to name a few. In schools, new testing criteria have increased the importance, and thus the pressure, of math success. And yet, far too many students fail in math. Thus, as a nation, we are still behind many other developed countries in math and science education.
So what's the solution? More homework? More class time? More tutoring? Self-paced courses? Interactive video? Computers? All of the above? Well….maybe. But none of these solutions address an important first step in improving math attitudes or math scores – the creation of an atmosphere where negative feelings about math are openly discussed and resolved.
This web site was developed because we have had great success working with students who hate or fear math and we would like to share with you some of what we have learned about math avoidance and anxiety. This information is based on the research used in the production of a popular book and new video on the subject, Math! A Four Letter Word. When this material was first produced, we went to Houston Community College to test our concepts on 119 students enrolled in pre-college algebra math classes. The results were impressive: 22 students were in the experimental group and 81.8% of these students passed the course. Only 51.5% of the control group (the other 97 students) did as well. From this simple beginning, the word spread, and our materials and the suggested methods for starting a math anxiety program have resulted in improved math education for millions of students in thousands of schools.