Name:  Shujie Charlene Song

Area of Study: Developmental

In what program are you currently enrolled? MA

What year of the program are you currently in? 2

Citation in APA format

Song, C. S., Xu, C., Maloney, E. A., Skwarchuk, S.-L, Di Lonardo Burr, S., Lafay, A., Wylie, J., Osana, H., Douglas, H., & LeFevre, J.-A. (2021). Longitudinal relations between young students’ feelings about mathematics and arithmetic performance. Cognitive Development, 59(7), 1-15. 

Plain language abstract:

Math anxiety is a common correlate of math performance for adults. Research on young children’s emotional reactions to math is limited, but critical for determining how math anxiety develops. Students (N =244) completed math measures (i.e., number comparison, arithmetic fluency, and math problem solving) and math anxiety assessments twice, in grade 2 (Mage =7.10) and a year later in grade 3. Math anxiety was significantly related to arithmetic fluency, but not to others. Longitudinally, arithmetic fluency in grade 2 predicted the change in math anxiety from grades 2 to 3, but not vice versa. The growth in math anxiety was related to arithmetic fluency for students with higher working memory scores, but this moderation effect of working memory was not significant after a multiple-comparisons correction. In sum, these findings are consistent with the view that math anxiety develops in some children in response to their experiences with mathematics.


How did the idea for this research come about? 

Mathematics is an important skill that we use every day, such as buying groceries, telling time, or managing a monthly budget. But I found some people just don’t like math and try to avoid it, and some of them feel anxious about their math abilities. I wanted to know what the cause of math anxiety was and how math anxiety develops, and more importantly how math anxiety influence people’s math skills, and when and how should people intervene. Because math knowledge is introduced in kindergarten and elementary school, it is appropriate to study the relations between math anxiety and math skills with children in elementary school to answer these questions. I thought this would be a good topic for my honour’s thesis.

How did you collect the data for this project? 

The data were collected as part of a larger project (the Language Learning and Math Achievement or LLAMA) comparing children’s learning of mathematics in either their first or an additional language. The larger project also involved children in three other locations (Ottawa, Montreal, and Northern Ireland), but only the children in Winnipeg completed the math anxiety measures analyzed in this paper. Children were tested at two time points. The first testing session was conducted between April and May of 2018 when the children were in grade 2 (n = 182; 63 boys; Mage =7.8 years old; SD =3.40, range 7.2–8.3). The second testing session was conducted between April and June of 2019 when the children were in grade 3 (n = 209; 109 boys, Mage = 8.9 years, SD =1.55, range 8.1–10.9). A total of 35 children withdrew from the study between the first and second time points for personal reasons, resulting in 147 children who participated in both testing sessions. Sixty-two new participants joined the study in grade 3

Was the journal you published in the first journal you submitted this paper to?


Why did you choose this journal?

This journal has a good reputation. My paper was a good fit for this journal because it publishes empirical and theoretical work on the development of cognition.

How many other journals did you submit this paper to before it landed in the journal that eventually published your work?


What was your revision experience?

I had a very good revision experience in that my paper required only minor revisions. I was asked to clarify some of ideas in the paper.

How many rounds of revision did you experience?


Did you need to collect new data to satisfy a reviewer?


How long did it take from first submission to acceptance? 

3 Months

Was this paper conducted as part of your MA thesis?


Was this paper conducted as part of your PhD dissertation?


How did this project come about?

This paper was part of my honour’s thesis

Was this research conducted with your supervisor?

Yes, with Dr. Jo-Anne LeFevre

Was this research conducted with fellow graduate students in our program? 

Yes, with Dr. Chang Xu, Dr. Sabrina Di Lonardo Burr, Dr. Heather Douglas

Was this research conducted with researchers external to Carleton?

Yes, with Dr. Erin Maloney, Dr. Sheri-Lynn Skwarchuk, Dr. Anne Lafay, Dr. Helena Osana, and Dr. Judith Wylie

You can access the article here.