Difficulties in math can arise due to a variety of factors such as lack of foundational understanding, inadequate instruction, learning disabilities, anxiety, and a negative attitude towards the subject.
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Difficulties in math can arise from a variety of factors, and addressing these factors is essential to helping students overcome their struggles. Let’s dive deeper into some of the most common causes of difficulties in math.

Lack of foundational understanding: Students who struggle with math often lack a strong foundation in the subject. They may have difficulty with basic arithmetic or struggle to understand fundamental concepts like fractions and decimals. Without this foundational understanding, they may struggle to keep up with more advanced math topics.

Inadequate instruction: Sometimes, students struggle with math simply because they haven’t been taught effectively. Teachers may move too quickly through new material or fail to explain concepts in ways that students can easily understand. Without clear instruction, students may find it difficult to grasp key concepts and apply them to new problems.

Learning disabilities: For some students, difficulties with math may be related to learning disabilities like dyslexia or dyscalculia. These conditions can make it more challenging for students to understand numerical concepts or recognize patterns in math problems.

Anxiety: Math anxiety is a real phenomenon that can make it difficult for students to learn and perform well in math. When students feel anxious about math, they may avoid practicing or studying the subject, leading to a lack of progress over time.

Negative attitude: Finally, some students simply have a negative attitude towards math. They may believe that they “aren’t good at math” or that it’s too difficult to ever master. This negative selftalk can make it difficult to stay motivated and persist through challenging math problems.
As Katerina Ray writes in Education Week, “Difficulty with mathematics is a predictable and common schoolrelated problem for approximately 1020% of students.” However, with the proper support and intervention, students can overcome their difficulties and succeed in math. Here is a table summarizing the causes of difficulties in math:
Cause of Difficulties in Math  Description 

Lack of foundational understanding  Students may struggle with basic arithmetic or struggle to understand fundamental concepts like fractions and decimals. 
Inadequate instruction  Teachers may move too quickly through new material or fail to explain concepts in ways that students can easily understand. 
Learning disabilities  Conditions like dyslexia or dyscalculia can make it more challenging for students to understand numerical concepts or recognize patterns in math problems. 
Anxiety  When students feel anxious about math, they may avoid practicing or studying the subject, leading to a lack of progress over time. 
Negative attitude  Some students simply have a negative attitude towards math, believing it’s too difficult to ever master. 
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” By addressing the causes of difficulties in math, we can help students appreciate this beautiful subject and unlock their full potential.
Here are some other responses to your query
7 Reasons why students struggle with math
 Concentration and attention difficulties.
 Lack of understanding.
 Learning difficulties & disabilities.
 Lack of patience.
 Not enough opportunity.
 Being leftbrained vs.
 Math anxiety.
There are a number of reasons why a child may be having problems with math at school, from low motivation caused by math anxiety, to a poor understanding of how to apply and perform mathematical operations. But sometimes the root cause of underperformance is something different, like a learning difference or a motor skills difficulty.
Mathematics is considered a difficult subject by most of the students due to aversive teaching style, difficulty in following the instruction, difficulty in understanding the subject, and difficulty in remembering its equations and ways to solve problem.
I am not talking about nature of mathematics, neither I am talking about advanced mathematics. I’m writing about learning the basic mathematics (high school math) here.
Most of the subjects are like this picture.
You face it and you can understand most of the things in it. Even if I make a distortion in this picture, you can still make the whole picture in your mind.
While mathematics is more like this puzzle:
You have to connect every piece of it to complete it.
Remember you cannot connect any piece without knowing the picture. On the other hand, you cannot know the picture without connecting every piece in not only correct but also in appropriate manner.
Most of the students who find difficult to learn mathematics are those who have no idea about anything they learned in previous chapters, in previous grade, or in past few years.
To understand math, you have to be ready with all the previous dots connected properly.
Mathematics is like a common sense. Everyone knows about it,…
See the answer to “What are the causes of difficulties in math?” in this video
In this video, Orly Rubinsten discusses the reasons behind math anxiety and suggests some ways to address it. Math anxiety can affect the ability to use working memory, which is essential for solving math problems. The pressure to perform well in math, often exerted by parents and teachers, can also cause anxiety. Relaxation techniques and a growth mindset can help to overcome math anxiety. Teachers and parents should foster playful attitudes towards math, offer sufficient time and space for students to work through problems, and instill positive attitudes and mathematical confidence to inspire students.
I’m sure you will be interested
What causes math problems? Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand numberbased information and math. People who have dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math because their brains don’t process mathrelated concepts like the brains of people without this disorder.
What are the difficulties in mathematics? Response will be: Mathematics Difficulties
 Computational weakness.
 Difficulty transferring knowledge.
 Making connections.
 Incomplete understanding of the language of math.
 Difficulty comprehending the visual and spatial aspects and perceptual difficulties.
 Output Difficulties.
 Organizational Difficulties.
 Language Difficulties.
Moreover, What causes poor math skills?
Response to this: Students with dyscalculia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention difficulties, dysgraphia, visual processing difficulties and anxiety can struggle with math.
Additionally, Why are kids struggling in math? Disorders like dyslexia, visual or auditory processing, ADHD, and others can also impact a child’s ability to meet expectations in completing math problems. It’s also possible for kids who do have dyscalculia to have other learning disabilities as well. Many do.
Beside this, Why is math difficult for students with learning disabilities? Another key difficulty of math language is found when students with math learning disabilities are asked to tackle word problems. There are also many things in mathematics that the student must learn to do, such as counting, adding and subtracting, multiplication and division, applying place value and fractions, and reading time.
Also Know, What causes math problems in children? While very little is known about the neurobiological or environmental causes of these problems, many experts attribute them to deficits in one or more of five different skill types. These deficits can exist independently of one another or can occur in combination. All can impact a child’s ability to progress in mathematics.
Beside this, Why do people with dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math? People who have dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math because their brains don’t process mathrelated concepts like the brains of people without this disorder. However, their struggles don’t mean they’re less intelligent or less capable than people who don’t have dyscalculia.
Why do students find math hard? One of the biggest reasons why students find math hard is because they don’t understand its value in real life. This attitude becomes harder to shake off when students are about to start high school math, which is more theorybased. If your child is questioning the reallife value of math, explore why they think that is with them.
What is a learning disorder in math?
As a response to this: Math A learning disorder in math, also called dyscalculia, may cause problems with the following skills: Understanding how numbers work and relate to each other. Doing math problems. Learning basic math rules. Using math symbols. Understanding word problems. Organizing and recording information while solving a math problem. Speech and Language
What causes math problems in children?
As an answer to this: While very little is known about the neurobiological or environmental causes of these problems, many experts attribute them to deficits in one or more of five different skill types. These deficits can exist independently of one another or can occur in combination. All can impact a child’s ability to progress in mathematics.
Keeping this in consideration, Why is math difficult for students with learning disabilities? Answer: Another key difficulty of math language is found when students with math learning disabilities are asked to tackle word problems. There are also many things in mathematics that the student must learn to do, such as counting, adding and subtracting, multiplication and division, applying place value and fractions, and reading time.
Why do people with dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math?
People who have dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math because their brains don’t process mathrelated concepts like the brains of people without this disorder. However, their struggles don’t mean they’re less intelligent or less capable than people who don’t have dyscalculia.