National University

Faculty Member Focuses on Math Anxiety

Nina Stankous' research is published in the International Journal of Arts & Sciences

Advanced mathematics skills are critical for many careers in modern technological society, and yet many students suffer from "math anxiety," a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that often interferes with students’ math performance and may even impede some from completing a degree or fulfilling professional ambitions.

Nina Stankous, Ph.D., an associate professor in the College of Letters and Sciences’ (COLS) department of mathematics and natural sciences, has written a scholarly article on the subject titled Overcoming Math Anxiety: Student Projects as an Effective Instructional Strategy, published in the International Journal of Arts & Sciences.

In her article, Professor Stankous discusses the value of using real world problems as examples of application for difficult abstract mathematics concepts at the university level. Her conclusions: increasing motivation through the implementation of student projects has been proven to be a successful approach that increases student engagement. Numerous examples supporting the main idea are presented in her piece.

Applications of Geometry in architecture and road construction, Mathematical Modeling and sport, Boolean Algebra and digital gates, Discrete Algebra and programming algorithms, Group Theory and computer games are just a few examples of student projects implemented in upper division mathematics classes during the last few years at National University and cited in Professor Stankous’ article.

Another way to overcome math anxiety, she added later, “is to have good teachers.”  COLS is certainly helping to prepare good math teachers, thanks to its outstanding faculty.