Examining the Effectiveness of Innovative Instructional Methods on Reducing Statistics Anxiety for Graduate Students in the Social Sciences

By Pan, Wei; Tang, Mei | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Examining the Effectiveness of Innovative Instructional Methods on Reducing Statistics Anxiety for Graduate Students in the Social Sciences


Pan, Wei, Tang, Mei, Journal of Instructional Psychology


Statistics anxiety is prevalent among students whose academic background has little statistical training. The development and psychometric properties of statistics anxiety scales and the factors affecting statistics anxiety have been extensively studied for more than twenty years, but few studies focused on how to reduce the statistics anxiety for graduate students in the social sciences. The present study explores how statistics anxiety can be reduced by various innovative instructional methods. A repeated measures ANCOVA with controlling for individual differences is utilized to analyze a sample data from 21 social science graduate students at a Midwest university. The study shows that the combining application-oriented teaching methods with instructors' attentiveness to students' anxiety is a significantly effective way (p < .02, [[eta].sup.2] = .29) to reduce students' anxiety in learning statistics.

KEY WORDS: Statistics anxiety: Statistics education; Learning statistics; Teaching statistics; Innovative instructional methods; Teaching strategy

**********

Many graduate students in the social sciences need to take statistics as part of the academic training, but these students often do not necessarily have backgrounds in statistics or mathematics from their undergraduate degree or other graduate training. In the classrooms, statistics anxiety is noticeably prevalent among graduate students whose academic background has little statistical training. According to Onwuegbuzie. Slate, Paterson, Watson, and Schwartz (2000), 75% to 80% of graduate students appear to experience uncomfortable levels of statistics anxiety. As a result, conducting statistics is often rated as the lowest skill in terms of academic competence (Huntley, Schneider, and Aronson, 2000).

Statistics anxiety has been defined simply as anxiety that occurs as a result of encountering statistics in any form and at any level (Onwuegbuzie, DaRos, & Ryan, 1997), and has been found to negatively affect learning (Onwuegbuzie & Seaman, 1995). Many researchers (Lazar, 1990; Lalonde & Gardner, 1993; Onwuegbuzie, 2000b) suggested that learning statistics is as difficult as learning a foreign language. On the other hand, statistics anxiety sometimes is not necessarily due to the lack of training or insufficient skills, but due to the misperception about statistics and negative experiences in a statistical class. For instance, students often think they do not have enough mathematics training so that they cannot do well in statistical classes. With fear of failing the course, they delay enrolling in statistics courses as long as possible, which often leads to failure to complete their degree programs (Onwuegbuzie, 1997). The lack of self-efficacy and higher anxiety in statistics keep many students away from engaging in research work or further to pursue an academic career. Therefore, statistics becomes one of the most anxiety-inducing courses in their programs of study (Blalock, 1987; Caine, Centa, Doroff, Horowitz, & Wisenbaker, 1978; Schacht & Stewart, 1990; Zeidner, 1991).

In the literature, statistics anxiety has been extensively studied for more than two decades. The majority of the studies have focused primarily on measurement of and factors contributing to statistics anxiety. The development of statistics anxiety instruments was derived from mathematics anxiety assessment. For example, the Statistical Anxiety Scale (Pretorius & Norman, 1992) was developed by replacing the word "mathematics" with the word "statistics" in some items of the Mathematics Anxiety Scale (Fennema & Sherman, 1976; Betz, 1978). The reliability and factor analysis results showed good psychometric properties of the Statistics Anxiety Scale. In 1991, Zeidner replaced the word "mathematics" with the word "statistics" in a 40-item version of the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (Richard & Woolfolk, 1980) and developed the Statistics Anxiety Inventory. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Examining the Effectiveness of Innovative Instructional Methods on Reducing Statistics Anxiety for Graduate Students in the Social Sciences
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.