Examining Mathematics Anxiety in Elementary Classroom Teachers

Date of Completion

January 2010


Education, Mathematics|Education, Educational Psychology




Test anxiety and mathematics anxiety have been found to relate to mathematics performance in both children and adults. This study investigated mathematics anxiety in elementary teachers and whether those who experience mathematics anxiety also have professional anxiety about teaching mathematics. A researcher-developed instrument called the McAnallen Anxiety in Mathematics Teaching Survey (MAMTS) was administered to a sample of 691 teachers from eight states representing geographically diverse areas of the United States in rural, urban, and suburban communities. Responses were used to investigate mathematics anxiety in elementary teachers as well as several demographic questions. The majority of the respondents had only taken Algebra I as their most advanced course in high school, and approximately 40% of these participants had enrolled in lower level or what might be considered remedial level mathematics courses in college. Approximately 33% of the participants reported that they had mathematics anxiety and higher levels of mathematics anxiety led to decreased feelings of enjoyment about mathematics. Mathematics anxiety was initially experienced in the primary grades by 12% of respondents, in the elementary grades by 26%, in middle school by 22%, and later by the remaining 40% of those who experienced mathematics anxiety. The participants who reported having mathematics anxiety attributed it to negative elementary or secondary interactions with teachers about mathematics, poor teaching practices while they were in school, and/or negative experiences taking algebra or geometry in high school. ^