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ERIC Number: EJ1159196
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1744-1803
Behind the Numbers: The Preliminary Findings of a Mixed Methods Study Investigating the Existence of Mathematics Anxiety among Mature Students
Ryan, Maria; Fitzmaurice, Olivia
Adults Learning Mathematics, v12 n1 p49-58 2017
Admitting that one is "no good at mathematics" or "hates mathematics" is a common admission among student cohorts. For mature students who harbour a strong dislike of mathematics, these feelings can be exacerbated when they are faced with having to do an obligatory service mathematics module as part of a programme of study. For some mature students, their dislike of mathematics can be identified as mathematics anxiety. Their experiences of mathematics as a subject throughout their lives are manifold, and depict a variety of emotions, attitudes, and beliefs about the subject. In spite of their experiences with mathematics, mature students demonstrate a persistence--and even a resilience--in respect of their engagement with mathematics. Research on mathematics anxiety is frequently conducted using quantitative methods, in particular measurement scales such as the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (MARS) test or equivalent. However, while these tests reveal a numerical representation for the level of anxiety felt by the participant, there is limited insight available into the context for such anxiety, thereby limiting understanding of the origin of such feelings. To this end, as part of a mixed methods approach, the researcher looks beyond the numerical results of the mathematics anxiety scale to explore the mathematics life histories of three mature students who have taken service mathematics at undergraduate level in Ireland at both University and Institute of Technology (IOT) sectors. This paper reports on preliminary findings of the researcher's data collection.
Adults Learning Mathematics. 26 Tennyson Road, Kilburn, London NW6 7SA UK. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A