Math Anxiety in Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers

By Malinsky, Marci; Ross, Ann et al. | Education, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

Math Anxiety in Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers


Malinsky, Marci, Ross, Ann, Pannells, Tammy, McJunkin, Mark, Education


Does the thought of math cause you to feel helpless, panicky, and to have difficulty in breathing, or ability to concentrate? If so, you are not alone. According to Trujillo (1999), Cemen, 1987; Posamentier & Stepelman, (1990, p. 210) report that "feelings of math anxiety can lead to panic, tension, helplessness, fear, distress, shame, inability to cope, sweaty palms, nervous stomach, difficulty breathing, and loss of ability to concentrate."

Math anxiety is an extremely common phenomenon among college and university students today. Stephen G. Krantz (1999, p. 1) as reported in (Perry, 2004) describes an extreme form of this syndrome: "Math anxiety is an inability by an otherwise intelligent person to cope with quantification, and more generally, mathematics ... When confronted with a math problem, the sufferer has sweaty palms, is nauseous, has heart palpitations, and experiences paralysis of thought."

Background

Mathematics anxiety has been the topic of more research than any other in the affective domain. According to Tooke (1998), although math anxiety may have serious consequences in both daily life and in work, mathematics anxiety has its roots in teaching and teachers (Williams, 1988), and has been tied to poor academic performance of students, as well as to the effectiveness of elementary teachers (Bush, 1989; Hembree, 1990). Mathematicians and mathematics educators have great concern that teachers' attitudes toward mathematics may affect more than their students' values and attitudes toward mathematics; these attitudes may affect the effectiveness of the teaching itself (Teague & Austin-Martin, 1981).

As stated in Trujillo (1999), there is a particular concern in the case of elementary teachers, because it has been reported that a disproportionately large percentage experience significant levels of mathematics anxiety (Buhlman & Young, 1982; Levine, 1996). This leads to doubts as to their potential effectiveness in teaching mathematics to young children (Trice & Ogden, 1986).

These concerns about the levels of mathematics anxiety among pre-service teachers and their potential effectiveness in teaching mathematics to young children were the bases for the research we conducted during the 2005-2006 school year at Arkansas State University. This study was directed at determining the level of math anxiety among pre-service elementary school teachers on the main campus and two branch campuses.

Method

Since students with math anxiety are difficult to identify in groups, we chose as our sample groups of students that we believed would exhibit math anxiety. These groups included college students with non-science majors taking physical science labs (a general required course), early childhood teacher education majors, and middle school teacher education majors. The education majors were further subdivided by whether or not they were interns (last semester seniors). Middle school teacher education majors were grouped by areas of concentration: language arts/social studies, or math/science.

In order to assess mathematics anxiety, we chose to administer the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale--Revised (MARS-R), a 24 item self-rating scale, developed by Plake and Parker in 1982, and based upon the original 98 item MARS rating scale (Richardson & Suinn, 1972). According to Hopko (2003, p.339),

   The MARS-R measures anxiety in
   math-related situations with the
   composite score being a total of two
   subscales: LME and MEA. Items
   are answered on a 5-point Likert
   scale ranging from 0 (no anxiety) to
   4 (high anxiety). The MARS-R
   which has yielded a coefficient alpha
   reliability of .98, is correlated .97
   with the full-scale MARS (Plake &
   Parker, 1982).

After taking the 24 item MARS-R, students were asked to respond true or false to 12 math myths. The math myths were taken from an article (Platonic Realms MiniTexts, 2004). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Math Anxiety in Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.