Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education and International Services

Program

Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Jeannie Montagano

Second Advisor

Rudolph Bailey

Third Advisor

Nadia Nosworthy

Abstract

The Problem

Correlational studies suggest that gender, attitudes to mathematics, mathematics performance, the number of college mathematics courses taken, and mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs may be related to mathematics anxiety among preservice teachers (Boyd et al., 2014; Gresham, 2018; Jaggernauth & Jameson-Charles, 2015). Exploratory studies of mathematics anxiety and teacher self-efficacy among elementary teachers exist in Trinidad and Tobago (Jaggernauth 2012; Jaggernauth & Jameson-Charles, 2015). However, the differences in samples, and weakness in methodology, may make it challenging to generalize the results to the preservice teacher population. In addition, no studies have found which variable or combination of variables is influential in predicting mathematics anxiety among preservice teachers in the Caribbean.

The Method

This was an exploratory study to determine whether mathematics anxiety in preservice teachers in the Caribbean could be explained by a combination of gender, mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs (personal mathematics teaching skill beliefs, mathematics teaching outcome beliefs), attitudes to mathematics (motivation to do mathematics, interest in mathematics), the number of mathematics courses taken, and prior mathematics performance. Independent samples t-test was conducted to identify gender differences in mathematics anxiety of Caribbean preservice teachers. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were used on the three instruments to identify the factor structure of mathematics anxiety among preservice teachers in the Caribbean. Categorical regression analysis was used to identify the predictors of mathematics anxiety among Caribbean preservice teachers.

The Results

Results suggest that approximately 56% of Caribbean preservice teachers experience moderate or severe mathematics anxiety. Mean mathematics anxiety reported by male preservice teachers was significantly higher than mean mathematics anxiety reported by female preservice teachers. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis have identified that mathematics performance anxiety and mathematics testing anxiety are the two factors that make up mathematics anxiety in this sample of Caribbean preservice teachers. Personal mathematics teaching skill beliefs and mathematics teaching outcome beliefs are the two factors that make up the construct mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs in this sample of Caribbean preservice teachers. Motivation to do mathematics and interest in mathematics are the two factors involved in attitudes to mathematics among this population. Categorical regression identified that mathematics teaching outcome beliefs, personal mathematics teaching skill beliefs, motivation to do mathematics, CSEC grade and gender are significant predictors of mathematics anxiety among Caribbean preservice teachers. Personal teaching skill beliefs, mathematics teaching outcome beliefs, motivation to do mathematics, and gender are significant predictors of mathematics performance anxiety in Caribbean preservice teachers. Finally, mathematics teaching outcome beliefs, motivation to do mathematics, and CSEC grade are significant predictors of mathematics testing anxiety among a sample of Caribbean preservice teachers.

Conclusions

This study demonstrated that modified surveys for mathematics anxiety, attitudes to mathematics, and mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs can be considered valid and reliable measures of those concepts among a Caribbean preservice teacher population. Previously, research on mathematics anxiety in the Caribbean region focused on identifying the gender differences in the construct. This study has resulted in three categorical regression models that identify the combination of variables that predict mathematics anxiety, mathematics performance anxiety, and mathematics testing anxiety among this population. This is a significant contribution to the body of knowledge of mathematics anxiety among Caribbean preservice teachers.

Subject Area

Student teachers--Caribbean Area; Mathematics teachers; Teacher effectivenss; Math anxiety; Mathematics--Study and teaching--Psychological aspects;

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