More than 30% of university students with math anxiety taking introductory math failed precalculus in Jamaica. Research has found that lowering math anxiety can lead to better math performance, and the use of isochronic tones has been linked to anxiety reduction.
The purpose of this pre and posttest wait-control experiment conducted at a small urban university in Jamaica was to explore the relationship between exposure to isochronic tones and math anxiety.
Two groups (n = 21 treatment; n = 27 control) of university introductory precalculus math students displaying differing levels of math anxiety were treated in 18 10-minute sessions with isochronic tones and measured on both math anxiety (Math Anxiety Rating Scales-Short) and math performance (standard mathematics exam).
Students’ pre and posttest math and math anxiety scores were examined. The correlation between the math pretest and the math anxiety pretest was found to be statistically significant. In addition, the mean math posttest score differences between Groups 1 and 2 were statistically significant, favoring the treatment group.
Last, for posttest math anxiety, the mean differences between Groups 1 and 2 were statistically significant, favoring the treatment group with lower math anxiety. The project and recommendations involved examining other ways of reducing math anxiety in addition to isochronic tones and suggestions for the examination of other interventions to improve students’ mathematical outcomes in education. The implications for positive social change include informing local teachers, parents, policy makers, and students about the problem of math anxiety and possible treatments to reduce it. As a result, it is hoped that students’ math anxiety will be reduced and greater math achievement realized.