The Relation Between Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Performance Among School-Aged Students: A Meta-Analysis

Jessica M. Namkung, Peng Peng, Xin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the relation between mathematics anxiety (MA) and mathematics performance among school-aged students, and to identify potential moderators and underlying mechanisms of such relation, including grade level, temporal relations, difficulty of mathematical tasks, dimensions of MA measures, effects on student grades, and working memory. A meta-analysis of 131 studies with 478 effect sizes was conducted. The results indicated that a significant negative correlation exist between MA and mathematics performance, r = −.34. Moderation analyses indicated that dimensions of MA, difficulty of mathematical tasks, and effects on student grades differentially affected the relation between MA and mathematics performance. MA assessed with both cognitive and affective dimensions showed a stronger negative correlation with mathematics performance compared to MA assessed with either an affective dimension only or mixed/unspecified dimensions. Advanced mathematical tasks that require multistep processes showed a stronger negative correlation to MA compared to foundational mathematical tasks. Mathematics measures that affected/reflected student grades (e.g., final exam, students’ course grade, GPA) had a stronger negative correlation to MA than did other measures of mathematics performance that did not affect student grades (e.g., mathematics measures administered as part of research). Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-496
Number of pages38
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • mathematics anxiety
  • mathematics performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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