Luckner, John

Committee Member

Jackson, Lewis

Committee Member

Rude, Harvey

Committee Member

Larkins, Randy


School of Special Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



251 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine and compare the beliefs and attitudes of pre-service special and general education teacher candidates regarding mathematics and the learning and teaching of mathematics and explore factors including student learning, teaching math, math rated affect (math anxiety and confidence), effectance motivation, usefulness of math, and the effect of previous teachers’ perceptions. The interrelationship among these factors was explored and compared to participants’ academic level and majors (i.e., special education and general) to determine whether these factors influenced the approaches pre-service teachers thought they would use when teaching math. The participants were 362 special and general pre-service teachers (elementary education and secondary math education) at all four academic levels (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior). Statistical analysis methods employed to obtain the results included multivariate analysis of variance, chi square, and multiple linear regression. Findings revealed statistically significantly differences in beliefs and attitudes toward mathematics among pre-service teachers across their academic majors. In comparison to the other two participant groups, special education pre-service teachers had more anxiety and less confidence in their math abilities and had the lowest mean scores in usefulness of math, effectance motivation, teacher perception, and student learning of all three participant groups. Findings also indicated the relationships between major and planning to teach math and major and desire to teach math were both statistically significant. In this study, special education pre-service teachers were less likely to plan or want to teach math when compared to elementary and secondary math pre-service teachers. Furthermore, findings suggested math rated affect and teacher perception could predict pre-service teachers’ beliefs in student learning. Findings suggested pre-service teachers who had less math anxiety and were more confident in their math ability were more likely to believe in a constructivist approach in student learning. Finally, a significant relationship was found between pre-service teachers’ beliefs in teaching math and effectance motivation, which implied pre-service teachers who had more interest and motivation toward math were more likely to believe teaching math involved constructivist practices. Implications and suggestions for future research were provided based on the results of the current study.

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