The relationship between mathematical achievement, mathematical anxiety, perfectionism and metacognitive abilities in Italian students

Caterina Buzzai, Pina Filippello, Bianca Puglisi, Antonina Viviana Mafodda, Luana Sorrenti


Background: The literature shows that mathematical achievement can be influenced by affective factors, metacognitive abilities, and personality traits. The aim of the present study is to investigate the relationship between mathematical achievement, mathematical anxiety, perfectionism, and metacognitive abilities in a sample of secondary school students.

Method: The sample was composed of 272 students of secondary school, 43.8% males, and 56.3%, with an average age of 12.08 (SD=.89). The Evaluate Metacognition, Negative Attitudes, and Mathematics Anxiety, and the Almost Perfect Scale were administered, while the data on academic performance in mathematics was based on the average scores earned on written tests across all participants during the current school year. Correlational and path analyses were performed.

Results: The results showed significant correlations between the variables investigated. Furthermore, mathematics achievement was positively predicted by control in performing, mathematics attitudes, beliefs related to mathematics, and adaptive perfectionism, while it was negatively predicted by math anxiety, and maladaptive perfectionism.

Conclusion: This study has important educational implications for teachers as it highlights the role of metacognitive, affective, and personality factors in the learning and achievement of mathematics. 


Mathematical achievement; Mathematical anxiety; Perfectionism; Metacognitive abilities; Preadolescent students.

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