Factors Related to Mathematics Anxiety in Males and Females in a Hispanic-Serving Rural Community College
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I am pursuing the option of publishing my thesis.
Abstract The purpose of this study is to investigate gender differences in mathematics anxiety and its relationship to test anxiety, trait anxiety, high school mathematics participation, and mathematics attitudinal factors in community college students. It takes place at a small rural community college in California, in which the majority population is Hispanic. The study relies primarily on quantitative methods, but includes a small qualitative component in the form of focus group interviews to confirm and enhance the findings. There were several main findings in the sample studied. Women scored significantly higher in mathematics anxiety than males among all age groups, ethnicities, and mathematics levels. Furthermore, the size of the gender gap in mathematics anxiety was not affected by age, ethnicity, or mathematics level. Significant relationships were found between mathematics anxiety and test anxiety, worry, emotionality, trait anxiety, self-confidence in mathematics, effectance motivation in mathematics, perceived usefulness of mathematics, and number of years of high school mathematics. Moreover, these relationships appeared to be approximately the same across samples of females and males, regardless of age, ethnicity, or mathematics level. Among the significant predictors of mathematics anxiety of particular importance were a lack of self-confidence in mathematics, a high presence of test anxiety—specifically emotionality—and a low presence of effectance motivation in mathematics. Follow-up focus group interviews suggested additional factors that could be related to mathematics anxiety, among which were an unpleasant experience with mathematics at the elementary or junior high school level, the requirement of having to follow precise steps in obtaining an exact answer, and the perception that the terminology of the mathematical language was confusing.
EdD in Mathematics Education