Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master's of Science in Teaching (MST)

Department

Teaching

Advisor

Janet Fairman

Second Committee Member

Franziska Peterson

Third Committee Member

Eric Pandiscio

Abstract

This study compares levels of mathematics anxiety and teacher efficacy between inservice and preservice elementary teachers. Prior research has indicated that mathematics anxiety is a common trait among elementary teachers. Mathematics anxiety has also been found to have a negative impact on preservice elementary teachers’ efficacy towards teaching mathematics. To address this challenge, some states have begun hiring elementary mathematics coaches to support elementary teachers. Besides focusing on mathematics anxiety and teacher efficacy, this study also investigated the impacts of elementary mathematics coaches on inservice elementary teachers.

A total of 174 inservice teachers and 51 preservice teachers completed a survey comprised of the Revised Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale and the Mathematics Teacher Efficacy Beliefs Instrument. Survey data were analyzed by using two-sample t-tests that revealed that preservice elementary teachers reported significantly higher levels of mathematics anxiety than inservice elementary teachers. Additionally, the analysis revealed that the inservice teachers reported significantly more efficacy towards teaching mathematics than the preservice teachers. This study also found that working with mathematics coaches had positive impacts on inservice teachers’ mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy. Open-ended questions were analyzed by open coding techniques and revealed that teachers reported co-teaching, co-planning, curriculum and content support to be the most beneficial forms of interaction with the coaches. This study addresses a gap in the literature by comparing the levels of mathematics anxiety and teacher efficacy in inservice and preservice elementary teachers. Additionally, the results of this study expand our knowledge of the relationship between mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy, as well as the impact of elementary math coaches. The findings have implications for the preparation of preservice elementary teachers and provide direction for further research on the impacts of elementary mathematics coaches.

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