A study of math anxiety in developmental courses in a Texas community college

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Johnson, Sarah Boutwell

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was three fold 1) to investigate the effects of math anxiety with respect to its impact on developmental students in a community college, 2) to determine if math anxiety could significantly reduced in one semester and 3) to determine if addressing anxiety issues and pedagogical practices would result in students having a more positive attitudinal perspective towards math. The final purpose was to determine if math anxiety was a significant variable contributing to math deficiencies among developmental students. A mixed methods design was most effective to quantitatively capture the results of a comparative experimental design and qualitatively capture the experience of the student. In the quantitative section of this study, a pre-test/posttest design was utilized to measure and compare math anxiety reduction (dependent variable). The study consisted of a pre-test measuring math anxiety levels and attitudes towards math at the beginning of the semester. A parallel form was given at the end of the semester. There was a comparison (control) group and a treatment (experimental) group for the purposes of comparing data. The researcher delivered an intervention in the form of a presentation to address math anxiety issues. In this presentation she provided cognitive-behavioral techniques aimed at reducing math anxiety. Post-test scores were then compared to pre-test scores to determine if there were any significant changes in the math anxiety variable. The overall findings of the study revealed the treatment group did not have a significant reduction in anxiety scores. However, the researcher found math anxiety scores to be higher among college algebra students. Thus, the overall effect of the intervention served as an inhibitor to math anxiety when scores were compared between the treatment and control groups.