Attitude or anxiety: mathematics disposition of high school algebra I students
The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to investigate the prevalence of mathematics anxiety among freshman Algebra I students in an urban, Midwestern high school, and (b) to find out if a pre-quiz and quiz intervention could reduce mathematics anxiety in one specific class. The Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale for Adolescents (MARS-A) was the primary quantitative data collection instrument. Qualitative data were collected using the Mathematicsitude Survey, student reflections, and interviews. Findings from the MARS-A showed that 50% of students experienced a significant amount of mathematics anxiety, particularly associated with testtaking. However, there was a large amount of variation among scores. In the treatment class, a strategy of pre-quiz followed by the same or similar quiz the following day was used to build student confidence and thereby lessen anxiety. The strategy did not meet this objective as many students reported greater anxiety levels after the intervention than before. Qualitative probing did show that in some isolated cases the strategy worked very well.