School of Mathematical Sciences Educational Mathematics
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
According to most recent studies in mathematics education, mathematics anxiety is highly prevalent in students’ learning, and in fact has significant negative relationship with mathematics achievement. Thus, as educators we need to understand the factors that explain the relationship between mathematics anxiety and achievement to find any insights for increasing mathematics achievement. This dissertation explored this particular issue through constructs, calibration and mindset, and their relationship with mathematics anxiety and achievement of pre-service elementary teachers. The dissertation has three manuscripts with the first two manuscripts focusing on the relationship between calibration, mathematics anxiety and achievement, and the third manuscript focusing on mindset and its relationship with the other three constructs. To examine these constructs in the first study, the 129 participants took mathematics anxiety and demographics surveys before their first and last exam, while they filled out self-efficacy surveys before each of their exam. For the second study, the 142 participants took mathematics anxiety and demographics surveys at the beginning and end of the semester. Additionally, self-efficacy and self-evaluation surveys were given right before and one class day or two after each exam. For the third study, the same procedure as the second study was followed with 321 participants, except a mindset survey was given with the mathematics anxiety and demographic surveys. Copies of the exams were collected after they were graded by the instructors for all three studies. Results of the studies revealed that calibration, mindset, and mathematics anxiety affected mathematics performance as supported by the literature where in these dissertation studies the pre-service elementary teachers have served as the population. Additionally, these four constructs are related to each other. Based on the metacognition theoretical framework and literature, the relationship seems to be that mindset may influence mathematics anxiety, calibration, and mathematics achievement while mathematics anxiety may influence calibration and mathematics achievement. Teachers might play an important influence on the relationship between the four constructs within the pre-service elementary teachers’ mathematics content courses. Given that different teachers have different styles regarding the teacher- and/or student-centered approach to teaching, of communication with the students, and of giving feedback to the students on presentations, assignments and assessments, this indicates that instructors of pre-service elementary teachers needs to be careful in their instruction methods in order to promote growth mindset, lower mathematics anxiety, and better calibration. This work also extends the methods of measuring and calculating calibration through the use of point values when measuring self-efficacy and self-evaluation instead of confidence measurements and working with open-ended questions on exams instead of multiple choice problems. Additionally, this research has implications for policy for mathematics content courses for pre-service elementary teacher population. One such implication is metacognitive habits of mind are not only important for understanding and learning mathematics but are also important for students to be life-long learners of mathematics as well as teachers of it by providing students with skills necessary for them to continually develop their thinking and understanding of the world.
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