Mathematics is a core subject in completing the basic education in Malaysia. As stated in the Malaysian Philosophy of Education, the study of mathematics was incorporated in the education system to produce a competent individual who is able to apply the knowledge of mathematics effectively in their daily life, be responsible in solving problems and to efficiently make decisions. Tobias (1995) denoted mathematics anxiety as, "a feeling of tension and anxiety that appears when someone is engaged in the manipulation of figures to solve mathematical problems in both academic and daily-life situations". This chapter will explain the background of research, statement of the research problem, purpose of research, importance of research, limitations of research, definition of terms, and summary.
Background of Research
Research shows that psychological factors, such as math anxiety has an significant impact on the students' mathematics performance. It is of great importance to overcome such weaknesses among students in order to be able to compete globally, in such a sophisticated world which reckon totally on science, technology and mathematics. Moreover, it is going to majorly affect the efforts in Malaysia a fully developed nation by the year 2020. Students who receive low grades in mathematics are deemed to develop mathematics anxiety. Accordingly, such students are bound to avoid the study of mathematics or any other field of study which is directly or indirectly related to the application of mathematics. Mathematics is the gateway to those major fields, such as physician, engineering, computing, accounting and any other scientific fields. The insufficiency of employees in the related field is a matter of national concern.
Statement of Research Problem
The analysis considers the variables that give rise to the condition of math anxiety. This research on the causation of math anxiety is based on two different variables, namely, the differences in terms of syllabus between Malaysian and International students and English language skills that are acquired to learn mathematics.
First and foremost, the study will examine the difference in terms of syllabus between Malaysian and International students. A syllabus is the basis of the education delivered to the students. The teaching methodology, content and materials used to teach, is all incorporated under the syllabus. Apparently, there is a significant different between the Malaysian school syllabus and the International school syllabus. This difference is tested as one of the variables to acknowledge to what extent it has to contribute to the growth of math anxiety in students.
The next variable in the case study is the English language skills that is acquired to master mathematics. Mathematics is not a stand alone subject. It needs a language to be accompanied with it to be delivered to the students. In this case, if a student has deficiency in learning the language, he or she would face a problem in mastering mathematics as well. Here, the study goes beyond the acquisition of mathematics proficiency, to observe how far the attainment of English language skills will reflect on the widening of math anxiety in a student.
The theoretical framework of the research is given in Figure 1. This research attempted to determine whether the distinctions between Malaysian school syllabus and International school syllabus and the proficiency of English language skills develops math anxiety.
Figure 1 Theoretical Framework of the Research
Purpose of Research
This research is conducted based on the well known math anxiety which is cultivating among the students. This psychological factor has a major effect on the achievement of the students' mathematics anxiety. Thereby, it is examined whether the difference between Malaysian school syllabus and International school...