The Role of Statistics Anxiety in Developing Curriculum for Psychology Statistics and Methods Courses.

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Curriculum development for a psychology statistics and methods course is a challenging task. The class, despite its frequent resistance from students, is an important and necessary element in the psychology major. Three challenges statistics instructors face are to increase interest and motivation, make what is learned memorable and to reduce test anxiety. Activities and teaching methods that have been shown to help achieve these goals are reviewed. Statistics classes also generate a specific form of anxiety that is often debilitating to students. We discuss contributing factors to anxiety and attitudes towards math and science including gender differences. We also conducted a preliminary survey to Occidental College students (N=76) participating in campus programs during the summer. Results confirmed previous studies suggesting women express greater math and science, as well as statistics, anxiety. In addition performance in statistics class and statistics anxiety were negatively correlated. The survey confirmed that poor performance in high school science courses and avoidance of science classes at the college level positively correlates with statistics anxiety.


N. Dess




Support provided by:Ford Grant

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