Maths: All About Motivation, not IQ!

Shubhangi Sarah updated on : 11 Mar 2014

Recent studies show that being good at Maths is not so difficult, just takes a little motivation. 


Dreaded maths when you were a kid? Still do? Well, it’s not the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) that you lack, it’s the motivation, states a new study.
According to researchers, clouting children onto maths won’t help.

An analysis of more than 3,500 German children found that those who started out solidly in the middle of the pack in 5th grade could jump to the 63rd percentile by 8th grade if they were very motivated and used effective learning strategies, said lead researcher Kou Murayama, from the University of California Los Angeles.

"The growth in math achievement was predicted by motivation and learning strategies. Given that IQ did not show this kind of effect, we think this is impressive," Murayama said.

Studies have shown that an aptitude for maths emerges from an early age and that ‘culture’ plays a crucial role in shaping this skill.

Men have overshadowed women when it comes to standardised maths tests. Those differences can be due to maths anxiety or cultural influences, studies have shown.

Murayama’s team observed around 3,500 students from Bavaria as they completed an IQ test and an evaluation of their algebraic and geometric skills from grade 5 to 10.

Researchers also gave students surveys that measured intrinsic motivation to keep working on maths using a rating tool, on a scale of 1-5. Also, they reported how external factors motivate the children like good grades.

No points for guessing, that the students with higher IQ than the others performed better at maths.

Kids who were average in maths were in the top 10% in terms of learning strategies and motivation jumped up by around 13% over the course of the study in their maths abilities, said Murayama.




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