Bad attitude towards math

Someone recently asked me advice concerning a 4th grade daughter who has a not good (negative) attitude towards math, along with her struggling with math. This mother said she always focused on reading and comprehension (which the daughter does well), but she didn't focus enough on math.  This girl has convinced herself that she doesn't like math and that she is not good at math. Mom desperately wants to change her way of thinking!

The girl had done placement tests or the end-of-year tests for grades 1, 2, and 3, and those showed some inconsistencies... like she did much better on the money section for 2nd grade than for 1st. Some really EASY questions (like 6 - 2 and other subtraction facts) from 1st grade were answered wrong. The 2nd grade test was about 60%, and 3rd grade, she didn't try most questions.

I asked her to REDO 4 problems from the 1st grade EoY test... and then she got them almost all correct! Which meant, she passed the 1st grade test just fine.

It made me wonder what is going on... I am suspecting the girl purposefully didn't put forth the effort to try to get the problems correct, so that the test results don't fully show what all she actually knows.

Changing a student's attitude towards math is definitely possible, with the right kind of instruction and experiences. But since there exists a FREE online course tailored to CHANGE students' attitudes towards math, that's what I suggested to this mother that her daughter take:

Main concepts to learn in this course:
  • Knocking Down the Myths About Math
  • Math and Mindset
  • Mistakes and Speed
  • Number Flexibility, Mathematical Reasoning, and Connections
  • Number Patterns and Representations
  • Math in Life, Nature and Work

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