Statistics Anxiety and Self-Efficacy in Psychology Students: A Challenge for Teaching and Learning in STEM

Swingler, M. V. and Morrow, L. I. (2014) Statistics Anxiety and Self-Efficacy in Psychology Students: A Challenge for Teaching and Learning in STEM. In: HEA STEM Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2014: Enhancing the STEM Student Journey, Edinburgh, Scotland, 30 Apr - 1 May 2014,

110812.pdf - Accepted Version



Statistics and research methods are embedded in the university curricula for psychology, STEM, and more widely. Statistical skills are also associated with the development of psychological literacy and graduate attributes. Yet there is concern about students’ mathematical and statistical skills in their transition from school to HE. A major challenge facing the teaching and learning of statistics in HE is the high levels of statistics anxiety and low levels of statistics self-efficacy experienced by students required to learn statistics as part of another course, and the negative impact of these factors on academic performance. The purpose of the current research was to identify the levels of statistics anxiety and statistics self-efficacy in UG and PGT psychology students; identify perceived causes of this; and explore any practical interventions that could be introduced in attempt to alleviate anxiety and increase self-efficacy. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected, using measures of anxiety and self-efficacy in statistics and psychology, and focus group discussions. The results showed that students reported higher levels of anxiety and lower self-efficacy for statistics when compared with anxiety and self-efficacy in psychology. Analysis of the qualitative data suggested various factors that increased statistics anxiety levels, such as assessment, and this anxiety prevented students from revising for exams and attending lectures. Factors identified as potentially reducing statistics anxiety and the feasibility of possible interventions will be discussed in the context of psychology and more widely.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:statistics anxiety self efficacy research methods
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morrow, Dr Lorna and Swingler, Dr Maxine
Authors: Swingler, M. V., and Morrow, L. I.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the authors
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