A research paper was recently published on Mathgarden, excecuted by a master student and researchers from the University of Amsterdam. Mathgarden had a positive effect on the self-confidence of students because the feeling of competence increased. The succes rate in Mathgarden is determined on an individual level, allowing a computer adaptive system to fix the succes rate of players without the regard of skill. Mathgarden can fix the succes rate of children on math to either 90% (easy), 75% (moderate) or 60% (hard).
A student that experiences a lot of negative feelings can suffer from math anxiety. Negative experiences like frequent failures can increase math anxiety. Math anxiety can subsequently keep increasing stress related to math, keeping the performance of math low.
A total of 207 children (age 8 to 12) were divided among the 3 difficulty categories and played for six weeks. Math anxiety, feeling of competence and math abilitiesd were measured at the beginning and end of the experiment.
The results suggest that children who experienced a higher succes rate, were more motivated to practice math in Math Garden and improved their addition-subtraction scores significantly. More research is necessary, however experience of success seems to be an important factor to improve math skills.
Jansen, B. R., Louwerse, J., Straatemeier, M., Van der Ven, S. H., Klinkenberg, S., & Van der Maas, H. L. (2013). The influence of experiencing success in math on math anxiety, perceived math competence, and math performance. Learning and Individual Differences 24, pp. 190-197.