If you have been reading about how children with high IQs are whizzing past math while yours seems to be struggling, take heart.

Research has found that while your child’s initial IQ is important in the early stages of your child’s math grades in their younger years, their later years are really determined by motivation and study skills.

What Research Found

The study, conducted by researchers from  University of Munich and the University of Bielefeld, looked at 3,520 students aged 11 to 16 years old. They investigated how students’ motivation, study skills, and intelligence jointly predicted long-term growth in their math achievement over five years. They investigated how students’ motivation, study skills, and intelligence jointly predicted long-term growth in their math achievement over five years.

While intelligence was required to understand the concepts of mathematics and to develop competence, motivation and study skills turned out to be more important factors in terms of students’ growth (their learning curve or ability to learn) in math.


 

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Study Skills are Important 

When students are competent in using an assortment of study skills for learning, they would naturally feel more competent. They would become intrinsically motivated and use skills like summarizing, explaining, and making connections to other materials. They usually avoid rote learning and show more growth in math achievement than those who do not use these skills. Interestingly, students’ intelligence have no relation to growth in math achievement.


 

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What does it Mean?

In short, it means that while your child’s cognitive ability to understand the concepts do help when they are younger, grit, motivation and feelings of competence by using an assortment of study skills will help them better to achieve greater math competence. Rather, focus more on providing several ways or strategies of studying to comprehend the methods instead of focusing on rote learning as many do not understand how to work on the lessons once the questions are rephrased.  When one increases positive feelings towards the subject by using more of these strategies, their competence will naturally improve and eventually, their grades.