Mathematics Anxiety in Pre-Service Elementary Teachers

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Oszadszky, Ilona
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This study explored the impact of mathematics methods courses, including practicum experiences, on the level of mathematics anxiety experienced by pre-service elementary teachers. Participants included 99 first and second year students completing a teacher education program at a university in Nova Scotia. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to collect data. Mathematics anxiety was assessed using the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale-Short Version (MARS-S) at the beginning and conclusion of a 12-week mathematics methods course. A short questionnaire assessing the participants’ perceptions regarding the impact of the course and practicum on their level of comfort with mathematics was also administered. Analysis of data revealed that a large number of pre-service elementary teachers experience high levels of mathematics anxiety. Furthermore, participation in a mathematics methods course and practicum contributed to a statistically significant reduction in mathematics anxiety for pre-service teachers completing their first year of the teacher education program (p < .05). There was no significant change in the level of mathematics anxiety for the pre-service teachers in the second year of the program. Qualitative data indicated that the majority of pre-service teachers perceived the mathematics course and practicum as having a positive impact on their level of comfort with mathematics. The findings of this study have important implications for professors and administrators in teacher education.
Mathematics anxiety , Pre-service Teachers , Mathematics methods