Psychological Correlates of Arithmetic Disabilities, Simultaneous-Sequential Processing and Anxiety
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study was designed to examine the simultaneous and sequential processing patterns and anxiety levels of 30 third and sixth grade male students who were experiencing problems in arithmetic as evidenced by their scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Mathematics Skills (ITBS). A comparison was made between the 30 arithmetic disabled (AD) students and 30 students achieving normally in arithmetic (N). All students were of average ability on the Cognitive Abilities Test:Nonverbal Section. Forty percent white and sixty percent minority students reflected the racial proportions of the Milwaukee Public Schools. The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC), the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (R-CMAS), and an attitude toward arithmetic scale were used to assess processing patterns, anxiety levels, and attitude toward arithmetic. Previous research suggested a closer relationship between simultaneous processing and arithmetic than between sequential processing and arithmetic as well as a negative relationship between arithmetic disabilities and anxiety. Two-way ANOVA was used to compare the groups. No significant differences were found in the main effects of grade and disability and in the interaction of grade by disability on the K-ABC Processing and Achievement Scales, the K-ABC Arithmetic Test, the R-CMAS Total Anxiety Scale, and the arithmetic attitude scale. Scatter patterns on the K-ABC Global and Subtest Processing Scales for both the AD and the N groups were nondiscriminatory parallel patterns. The results of this study did not support a relationship between arithmetic disabilities and simultaneous processing nor did they support the negative relationship between arithmetic disabilities and anxiety. It is hypothesized that the arithmetic problems of the AD students were the result of deficient arithmetic skills not deficient processing skills. It is further hypothesized that because the AD students were not having severe difficulties in arithmetic they were therefore not experiencing anxiety. Future research into relationships between processing or anxiety and arithmetic disabilities will need to include students with more severe arithmetic problems.