Australian students reported higher levels of schoolwork-related anxiety than the OECD average, according to data from the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
The report, released today by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), found that 65% of Australian 15-year-olds worry they will get poor grades at school.
Students reported the highest levels of schoolwork-related anxiety in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, NSW and South Australia, compared to other states and territories.
In all participating countries, including Australia, females reported higher anxiety related to their school work than males.
Indigenous students, those from the lowest socioeconomic quartile and students not born in Australia reported higher levels of schoolwork-related anxiety.
Mathematics anxiety was surveyed by PISA as a specific focus area in 2003 and 2012. Most countries reported increased agreement with statements demonstrating maths anxiety over this period, with the greatest increases in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.
In 2012, in response to the statement “I get very tense when I have to do mathematics homework”, 67% of Australian female students agreed and 52% of males agreed.
“The differences between males’ and females’ levels of anxiety were large, especially in relation to maths anxiety, in every participating country,” ACER deputy CEO (Research) Dr Sue Thomson, said.
“Female participation in science, technology, engineering and maths is a challenge for most countries, so low levels of self-confidence in these areas among female students needs to be addressed.”