(MUNICH, Germany) — IQ may not be the only thing that determines how well students perform in math class.
Researchers studying school-age children in Germany have found that a higher IQ is associated with better math ability when the child is young, but IQ made no difference on the growth of achievement later on.
The researchers at the University of Munich and the University of Bielefeld assessed the math ability of more than 3,500 students in grades 5 to 10. They looked at how factors such as study skills, level of motivation and intelligence impacted student achievement in mathematics over five years.
As it turns out, motivation and learning strategies played the most important role for math success. Students who felt confident were more motivated to use summary skills and make connections among given materials.
“Our study suggests that students’ competencies to learn math involve factors that can be nurtured by education,” said lead study author Kou Muayama, according to Science Daily. “Educational programs focusing on students’ motivation and study skills could be an important way to advance their competency in math as well as in other subjects.”
The study, published Thursday in the journal Child Development, highlights the importance of focusing on motivation and study skills to improve academic performance, even with children who might not perform well initially.
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