Mathematics Anxiety within Developmental Mathematics Classrooms
By: Jessica Faith Vialva
Published: 5/18/2016
Uploaded: 06/06/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2016 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: DEVELOPMENTAL, mathematics, mathematics anxiety, remedial

Description/Abstract: Many students are entering college academically underprepared to be successful in credit-bearing mathematics courses. Developmental mathematics courses are provided to bridge the gap for students by sufficiently preparing them for the work they will encounter; however, the effectiveness of these courses is not consistent. Many initiatives have been implemented and some are successful in addressing the ineffectiveness of developmental mathematics courses, with others less so. There is a clear component that the majority of students in these courses possess which is mathematics anxiety.
The purpose of this study is to identify the response to inquiry-based instruction, a type of mathematics reform pedagogy, from students with mathematics anxiety in developmental mathematics courses. The research questions investigated in this study are: 1) how do students in developmental mathematics courses perceive an inquiry-based classroom? 2) In what ways does inquiry-based instruction heighten and/or de-escalate mathematics anxiety in a developmental mathematics course? 3) Which approach to teaching and learning is preferred among students with mathematics anxiety, traditional (lecture-based) or inquiry-based? The abbreviated version of the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (A-MARS) was used to identify and analyze levels of mathematics anxiety over the course of the semester. Also, interviews were conducted at the beginning and end of the semester to identify students' perceptions, preferences, and experiences related to mathematics teaching and learning.
The majority of participants were primarily taught through traditional methods throughout their K-12 education and were more likely to have negative perceptions of inquiry-based instruction at the beginning of the semester due to having little to no exposure to the pedagogy. The A-MARS indicated a statistically significant decrease in overall mathematics anxiety, and, more specifically, mathematics test anxiety over the course of the semester for participants in the inquiry-based, developmental mathematics courses. After experiencing a semester of inquiry-based mathematics instruction, the majority of participants preferred that method of instruction, while the majority of participants who experienced traditional methods of being taught mathematics still preferred traditional methods. The implementation of inquiry-based instruction within developmental mathematics courses may help to lower mathematics anxiety by encouraging conceptual understanding and, thus, helping to lower test anxiety.