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April 12, 2024

From Stress to Success: Tackling Math Anxiety with XtraMath


For many students, the thought of a math test or even a classroom math activity can trigger feelings of dread, fear, and anxiety. Math anxiety is a modern epidemic that robs students of their potential by negatively impacting attitudes, confidence, working memory, and overall math performance. Symptoms include math avoidance and negative self-talk. Research has shown that a significant number of students experience varying levels of anxiety related to math. Math anxiety can develop as early as elementary school for some students, while for others, it may become apparent around middle school as math concepts become more complex. It is estimated that approximately 20% to 25% of children experience some degree of math anxiety, which can continue into adulthood (American Psychological Association). According to Public School Review, the national average for math proficiency in public schools is 38% in 2024, highlighting the need to address math anxiety.

The struggle with math anxiety is real, but we can change that. Instead of letting fear take over, teachers and parents can help students by using the right tools and methods. This is where XtraMath comes in – it's a great way to help kids face their math fears and get better at math. XtraMath offers practices and exercises that build math confidence and skills, making math something students can feel good about.

Building a Positive Math Culture with XtraMath

  • Start with the Basics: XtraMath excels in reinforcing basic arithmetic through spaced repetition. Ensure students have a strong foundation in these skills, which boosts their confidence and reduces anxiety.
  • Bite-Sized Mastery: Anxiety often stems from feeling overwhelmed. XtraMath breaks down math fact practice into short, manageable 10-minute sessions that build fluency in a non-stressful way. Students don't dread endless drill-and-kill exercises.
  • Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection: XtraMath provides progress reports – use them to celebrate small victories, like winning a trophy. Emphasize effort and improvement over perfect scores to encourage a growth mindset.
  • Create a Positive Atmosphere: Set a tone of positivity and encouragement around XtraMath activities. Praise students for taking on challenges and trying their best, regardless of the outcome.
  • Personalize the Learning Journey: Every student is unique, and XtraMath knows it. Its customized approach allows students to focus on areas they find challenging, making the learning experience more relevant and less intimidating.
  • Engage in Regular Practice: Consistency is key. Encourage regular use of XtraMath by allocating a fixed time to focus on working with numbers. This gradual exposure can help reduce anxiety over time.
  • Make It Engaging: Elevate your students' math practice with imaginative and interactive strategies. Utilize the resources available in XtraMath Premium to create captivating classroom experiences. These can include setting up an 'XtraMath Wall of Fame,' organizing a celebratory 'XtraMath Graduation Ceremony,' or hosting special events to award 'Brag Tags' to your students. Each of these activities is designed to make math practice not only educational but also exciting and memorable."
  • Include Parents in the Process: Share XtraMath progress reports with parents. Informed parents can reinforce positive attitudes towards math at home, creating a supportive learning environment.
  • Use Real-Life Examples: Connect XtraMath STEM activities to real-life scenarios to show the practicality of math. This makes learning more engaging and less abstract.
  • Supportive  Individual  Intervention: If you notice a student consistently struggling with certain facts on XtraMath or who seems particularly anxious, offer additional support in a discreet and encouraging manner. One-on-one sessions using XtraMath can provide the personalized attention they need to overcome their fears.


In summary, tackling math anxiety is a crucial step in unlocking your students' true potential. XtraMath offers a supportive and engaging platform that reinforces fundamental math skills and cultivates a positive and confident approach to learning. By celebrating progress, personalizing the learning experience, and integrating math into enjoyable activities, teachers can guide their students toward a future where they approach math with confidence, equipped with both the skills and the mindset necessary for success.

Jackeline Paz Orcutt

Product Marketing Manager