Semester of Degree Completion

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Thesis Director

Gary L. Cates

Abstract

Mathematics achievement scores on standardized test batteries are a major area of concern in public schools. This study examined the relationships among different variables that may affect mathematics achievement as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). Specifically, this study investigated the relationships among gender, mathematics fluency, mathematics accuracy, anxiety toward mathematics, and mathematics composite scores on the ITBS. In addition, the study assessed the effects of gender and anxiety on mathematics achievement as measured by accuracy, fluency, and ITBS math scores. One hundred fourth and sixth grade participants completed the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Anxiety Scale to measure their levels of anxiety about performing mathematical operations. Students were then presented with timed mathematics probes to measure their accuracy levels (percent correct) and fluency rates (number of digits correct per minute) in basic mathematical operations. Finally, participants' most recent ITBS mathematics composite scores were assessed.

Results indicated that participants' mathematics anxiety was a better predictor of mathematics achievement as measured by the ITBS than participants' levels of mathematics fluency. Results further indicated that anxiety level had a significant effect on state standardized test performance, but only for students who rated themselves at a high level of mathematics anxiety. Current results also suggested that participants' levels of anxiety did not affect accuracy of basic mathematical operations. This study provides a better understanding of the variables to investigate further in attempting to increase students' mathematics achievement.

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