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MATHEMATICS ANXIETY: EFFECTS ON MATHEMATICS PERFORMANCE OF

JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OF LABORATORY HIGH SCHOOL

By:

BANDALI, SANDRA I.

BATARA, GIRLIE C.

SAMONTAÑEZ, BLESSIE MARIE T.

A Research Proposal

Submitted to the Faculty of College of Education in Partial

Fulfillment of the Course Research in Mathematics I (MT221)

DR. OMBRA A. IMAM

College of Education

November 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION.………………………...……………………………..1

Background of the Study ………………………………………………………. 1

Statement of the Problem ……………………………………………………… 3

Hypothesis ……………………………………………………………………... 4

Theoretical Framework and Conceptual Framework …………………………. 4

Significance of the Study ……………………………………………………... 5

Scope and Delimitation ……………………………………………………….. 6

Definition of Terms …………………………………………………………… 6

CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE …………………………...8

Nature of Mathematics Anxiety ………………………………………………. 9

Levels of Mathematics Anxiety …………………………………………….... 10

Causes of Mathematics Anxiety …………………………………………….. 11

Effects of Mathematics Anxiety ……………………………………………... 12

Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Performance………..………….….. 13


CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY …………………………………………………. 14

Research Design ……………………………………………………………... 14

Research Setting ……………………………………………………………... 15

Sample Size and Sampling Technique ………………………………………. 15

Research Instrument ………………………………………….……………… 17

Reliability and Validity ………………………………………….…………... 17

Data Analysis ………………………………………………………….…….. 18

References ……………………………………………………………………..……. 19

Appendices

A. (Survey Questionnaire)………………………………………….……. 20

B. (Letter to the Respondents)……………………….……………........... 21

C. (Letter to the Validator)........................................................................ 22


CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

It seems axiomatic that the subject of math portray as an integral part in education and in

our daily lives but it has been plagued with fear and anxiety by some students. Therefore, it is

commonly viewed as a complicated and difficult subject. Probably a person experiencing the

situation has mathematics anxiety. Mathematics anxiety is the result of the students’ negative

attitude or embarrassing experience with their mathematics teachers in previous years, low self-

efficacy, nature of mathematics, learning environment and parent’s effect. Such reasons can leave

a students led to hate the subject and lose all confidence in their ability to excel at it. This is an

often repeated cliché but it is unfortunately true. Mathematics anxiety are quite real. Recent

studies have shown that mathematics anxiety has an actual effect of the brain’s functions that

negatively impacts the ability to complete mathematics tasks. This is not surprising as most of

people intuitively know that when one is feeling afraid or intensely nervous or frustrated he tends

to have a hard time concentrating. Mathematics anxiety can cause one to forget and loose one’s

self confidence.

Anxiety is an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked

bys psychological signs as sweating, tension and increased pulse by doubt concerning the reality

and nature of the threat and by self-doubt about one’s capability to cope with it. Anxiety also a

mild case of mathematics avoidance can quickly turn into a severe case of mathematics anxiety.

The cycle begins with anxious mathematics students, convinced of their inability to do math,

might avoid the subject or put for the little effort, learning significant gaps in their mathematics

development. Difficulty mounts as the students confronts more advanced skills, causing further
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anxiety and avoidance, unless math anxiety is confronted, it can turn into a permanent block. In

addition to the help and support from the child’s family, teachers can help chip away at this block

by helping the student approach math with confidence. Phobias are anxiety disorder involving

fear or anxiety that is excessive or out of proportion to the object or situation. Clinically assess

whether a client’s fear or anxiety is normal or excessive by using factors specific to cultural

norms. Anxiety and fear often cause very similar symptoms such as muscle tension, increased

heart rate and shortness of breath brought about by the body’s flight-or-flight instinct. It is also

no surprise then that for many of us, fear and anxiety pretty much mean the same thing. But

where psychologists are concerned, fear and anxiety are two completely different disorders that

require different treatment. “Fear is the emotional response to or real perceived imminent threat,”

“Anxiety disorders differ from developmentally normative fear or anxiety by being excessive or

persisting beyond developmentally appropriate periods”. Anxiety disorders are persistent,

typically lasting six months or longer. Fear is referred to as emotional response to a situation in

which an individual feels threatened. The cause of the threat is realistic in nature. Oftentimes,

fear of a particular situation or event is caused by a traumatic event experienced earlier in life.

Given that mathematics anxiety can hinder performance even for individuals with high aptitude,

it is important to investigate the extent to which mathematics anxiety the performance of the

students. It has been observed that most students had negative view towards mathematics.

Oftentimes one can see students uninterested about the subject and in turned they keep on

complaining that mathematics is such a very difficult subject. Such attitude is often reflected

during mathematics test wherein most students had either passing or below passing scores.

Students could still improve their mathematics performance. However, it is a must for every

mathematics teachers to understand the reasons why most students are uninterested about
mathematics. Mathematically anxious students complain of such thing as nervousness, inability

to concentrate, a blank mind, and a feeling of sickness when they are confronted with taking

mathematics test. Other symptoms include panic, paranoia, passive behavior and lack of

confidence. When confronted with a mathematics problem, mathematically anxious student has

sweaty palms, is nauseous, has heart palpitations and experience paralysis of thought. The

purpose of this research is to simply recognize if there is an existing relationship between

mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance on grade 10 students .What can a teacher do

to help a student overcome numerical anxiety.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

This study was conducted particularly to understand better the factors affecting the

mathematics anxiety on mathematics performance of grade 10 students of Laboratory High

school. Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions:

1. What are the levels of mathematics anxiety of Grade 10 Students?

2. What is the level of Grade 10 student’s performance in mathematics?

3. Is there a significant relationship of mathematics anxiety and the Grade 10 student’s

performance in mathematics?
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HYPOTHESIS

Based on the following problem, the researchers came up with the following hypothesis:

There is a significance difference between the anxiety and math performance of Grade 10

students.

There are a significant relationship between mathematics anxiety and the Grade 10 student

performance.

THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Increased math anxiety Decreased math performance

The Reciprocal Theory

We believed that a model like this one is best able to account for the mixture of data, which

suggests that the relationship between math anxiety and math performance operates in both

directions. Research has long seen a relationship between math anxiety and math performance

tests. That is, as math anxiety levels increase, math tests performance somewhat decreases.

Math anxiety may have an effect on math performance at several different levels. Firstly,

evidence suggested that people with math anxiety are less willing to engage with math task at all.
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People with math anxiety are less likely to enroll in math classes, and have a tendency to answer

questions quickly but inaccurately, perhaps due to trying to escape the anxiety including math

situation. This suggests a tendency towards math anxiety, which has a negative impact on both

learning opportunities and recall in tests. Secondly, while individuals are engaged in math tasks,

math anxiety might act to distract them from what they are trying to learn or remember. The idea

that anxiety could interfere with learning and recall is known as cognitive interference, anxiety

generates distracting thoughts and sensations which affects memory capacity. This idea is

supported by evidence suggesting that those with higher math anxiety have poorer working

memory, used to store, process and manipulate information, and those with higher math anxiety

have poorer working memory (memory used to store, process and manipulate information), and

that those with math anxiety do especially poorly in questions which require a high level of

working memory to solve. The idea is that math anxiety reduces math performance, then, both by

reducing working memory capacity. There is some evidence that the relationship between math

anxiety and math performance does operate in this direction.

SCOPE AND DELIMITATIONS

In general, the focus of this study is to find out the probable effect of mathematics anxiety in

Grade 10 students. The effect of Mathematics Anxiety will be observed in the said school. It will

be limited only to Grade 10 Students of Laboratory High School.


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SIGNIFICANT OF STUDY

The result of the study will be the following:

School Institution

This study will help the institution to be aware for the possible problems might encounter of

Grade 10 students in Laboratory High School about Mathematics Anxiety. This is to address

Mathematics Anxiety since it is quite real problem.

Teachers

It will enhance teacher skill in terms of teaching strategies, methods, standard competencies and

apply their knowledge. It is part of the progress of the teachers teaching techniques.

Students

It will help the students to perform their abilities and excel their performance in mathematics and

to gradually overcome this mathematics anxiety. This is to show their great performance in

solving mathematics problem.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Fear - is the emotional response to or real perceived imminent threat.

Mathematics Anxiety - is a common type of anxiety disorder that defined as feelings of tension

that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and solving mathematics problem.

Mathematics Performance- refers to the student’s grades in terms of their quizzes and

examination.

MAS- Mathematics Anxiety Scale.

MA- Mathematics Anxiety.


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Mathematics Phobia - are anxiety disorder involving fear or anxiety that is excessive or out of

proportion to the object or situation.

Students - the respondents participated in the study which is studying as Grade 10 in Laboratory

High School.
CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

This chapter includes the short description of anxiety, the nature of mathematics anxiety,

the types, the possible causes, levels of anxiety and the brief overview of the effects of

mathematics anxiety.

Anxiety is an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked

by physical signs such as tension, sweating and increased pulse rate by doubt concerning the

reality and nature of the threat and by self doubt that ones capacity to cope with it. (Merriam

Webster Dictionary).

It is also said that it is ours body natural response to stress. But if our feelings of anxiety

become extreme, last longer and interfere with our life, we might have an anxiety disorder. It is

the most common form of emotional disorder and can affect anyone at any age. It is when the

feeling of fear maybe with you all the time. It is intense and sometimes debilitating.

There are different types of anxiety. These include: Panic disorder, Phobia, Social

Anxiety disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, illness anxiety

disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers are not sure of the exact cause of

anxiety. But it could be combination of factors that as well as brain chemistry. Furthermore , they

also believe that the areas parts of the brain responsible for controlling fear maybe impacted that

is why current research of anxiety is taking a deeper look at the part of the brain that are

involved with anxiety (www.healthline.com>anxiety).


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Anxiety and depression lead to academic tasks. Higher levels of anxiety, depression, and

worry can lead to lower academic performance and power working memory function. School

task that involve more working memory are greatly affected by anxiety and depression (Owens

et al., 2012).

Nature of Mathematics Anxiety

Many studies over the years have indicated that many people have extremely negative

attitudes to mathematics, sometimes can result to serve anxiety (Hembree, 1990; Ascraft, 2002;

Maloney and Beilock, 2012). Mathematics anxiety was defined as to the feeling of tension and

anxiety that interferes with the calculation of numbers and solving of mathematical problems in

ordinary life and academic situations. It was found out that mathematics anxiety has two separate

dimensions in sixth graders and secondary school students. The two different dimensions are

cognitive and affective, similar to those that had been identified previously in the test anxiety.

The cognitive dimension, labeled as worry, were referred to concern about one performance and

the consequences of failure, and the affective dimension, labeled as “emotionality” were also

referred to nervousness and tension in testing situations and task that needed an immediate

response.

Over the years, studied have indicated that many people formed an extremely negative attitudes

towards mathematics that sometimes lead to anxiety. (Hembree, 1990; Ascraft, 2002; Maloney

and Beilock, 2012). The unusual nervousness when during or just mere thinking about

mathematics and panic during test or when called on to answer questions some of symptoms

that you could observe on the people that have mathematics anxiety,

(www.oxfordlearning,com>what are the symptoms of anxiety).


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Mathematics Anxiety is commonly defined as the feelings of tension and anxiety that has

something to do with the manipulation of numbers and solving of mathematical problems in

ordinary life and academic situations( Richardson and Suinn,1972 p.551). At some point, it is not

easy to memorization of different formulas just to get the answer of different equations and to

calculate every single digit of number for you to arrive at correct answer.

“Math anxiety has been shown to affect students in various countries and across all educational

levels (Downer et al, 2016, Foley et al., 2017). Hence, MA hold back the students academic

performance inside the classroom. It is a problem that commonly observing during math class in

a particular grade level or school. The symptoms may differ from one to another individual

students but the thing is, it should be properly addressed.

Levels of Mathematics Anxiety

The numerical anxiety were said to be recognized as to mild and high level. It was observed

when demands in terms of working processes increased so as anxiety. Once this mathematical

anxiety increases beyond this point, performance disintegrates rapidly. Concentration

deteriorates, the ability to perform both physical and mental activities is lost and the students do

not have any control over the task in hand (William Matthew Siebers, 2015). High levels of

mathematical anxiety were more observed by working difficult memory task when doing mental

addition for an instance than those of low anxiety subjects. The learners who happen to have the

high level of anxiety were more disoriented and pressured in the classroom during class activity.

The findings suggested that it was the ability to hold information in working memory in facing or

completing some cognitive task that was making it hard for the mathematically anxious patients.

It is when (Ashcraft and Kirk, 2001) then sought to extend the findings reported to a situation
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where their participants were not involved in any explicitly numerical processing. The

participants undertook the number of letter transformation task that was demanding of working

memory and required counting. The highly anxious participants performed poorly on the task

that both letter and numbers conditions suggesting that the process of solving was impaired

under circumstances and conditions of high working memory and solving load

(ejop.psychopen.eu).

Causes of Math Anxiety

Many students claim not to like math. But for some, the issue with math is more than simply

disliking algebra or fractions. It can cause negative emotions like fear of failure. This harms their

ability to perform mathematics task.

Research confirms that the pressure of timed test and the risk of public embarrassment have long

been recognized as the source of unproductive tension among many students. There are practices

that happen regularly in a traditional classroom that causes great anxiety like imposed authority,

public exposure and time deadlines. (www.mathnasium.com/M.C.Philips).

On the other hand, Oxfordlearning.com had similar findings on the causes of mathematics

anxiety. They also recognize gave three major source of math anxiety like the pressure caused by

time limits on test, the fear of public embarrassment and lastly, the influence of teacher.

Furthermore, Boaler (2002) and Beilock (2008) suggested that another reason why math anxiety

exist is due to the method behind instruction and how students are tested.
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Effects of Mathematics Anxiety

Jain and Dowson (2009) define fear in mathematics as the effect of person’s failure to

manage frustration, poor self-efficacy school absenteeism, negative attitude towards

mathematics, and giving importance of learning using drill and practice without understanding.

The development of fear in mathematics is affected by intellectual capacity, personality, and

environmental factors. Personality variables include self-esteem, self-concept, attitude,

confidence and learning behavior. Meanwhile, intellective variables comprise of concepts related

to students’ academic performance. The psycho-logical hardiness construct is emerged as a

buffer in the relationship between stressors and illness and has been shown as an element

enhancing performance (Maddi and Kobasa 1979). Psychological hardiness comprised of three

obliquely related attitudes (Kobasa et al. 1982). The three interrelated hardiness attitudes of

commitment, control, and challenge are thought to influence two underlying mechanisms that

enhance the performance of every individual person (Maddi and Kobasa 1979).The classroom is

ultimately the learning space where students are taught mathematics. The structure of a

classroom and the instruction inside is most important. Picture a classroom in which children are

highly engaged in solving math problems through debating their solutions (Alsup, 2005; Ascraft

and Kirk, 2001; Tobias, 2003). Rivera (1997) had studied “The effect of home environment and

parent-child interactions on mathematics anxiety”. The finding indicated that home environment

was a predictor of academic achievement.


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Mathematics Performance and Academic Achievement

Good academic performance portrays a very significant value not only to students and their

parents, but also to institutions of learning and educationalist. The quality of student’s academic

performance is greatly influenced by wide variety of environmental factors rather simply teacher

factors and psychological factors within the learner such as motivation and the self, rather than

simply by ability. The test anxiety and mathematics anxiety are increasingly being seen as factors

in determining levels of motivation for academic performance. It suggests that it affects many

people and threatens both performance of participation (Suinn,Taylor & Edwards, 1988).

Learning mathematics affects the learner’s possess confidence, mathematical abilities, attitudes,

beliefs and feelings they have towards mathematics (Coben, 2003). Mathematics anxiety has

been found to have connections to mathematics performance of learners (Zacaria & Nordin,

2008: Karimi & Venkatesan, 2009). Since math anxiety has been decreasing the efficiency of an

individuals working memory. The intrusive thoughts and worry is taking away the focus of a

learners from mathematics tasks at hand. Hence, math anxiety constrains math performance by

decreasing competence and reduce completion rates resulting to lower academic performance in

the said subject (Ho, Senturk, Lam, Zimmer, Hong, Kamoto and Chui, 2000). The learners with

higher levels of anxiety in mathematics tend to have lower math performance. (Ho et. al., 2000)
CHAPTER III

METHODOLOGY

This research shows factors which have effects in the students' mathematics anxiety of

Grade -10 students of Laboratory High School. In pursuing to achieve our aim we will be using

quantitative research. Accordingly, quantitative research is the systematic empirical investigation

of observable phenomena via statistical mathematical or computational techniques. It is to

develop and employ mathematical models, theories and hypotheses pertaining to phenomena.

The process and measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides fundamental

connection between empirical observation.

Research Design

The researcher aims to study the effects of mathematics anxiety on the performance of

Grade 10 students by using quantitative method. A quantitative method emphasizes the

measurements and statistical, mathematical and numerical analysis of the data that collected

through questionnaires and surveys or by manipulating preexisting statistical data using

computational techniques. (USC Libraries Research Guide).

This present study is a descriptive-correlational research design. A descriptive- correlational

design describes an existing relationship between variables and seeks to clarify an understanding

of an important phenomena by identifying relationships among variables. (Fraenkel and Wallen)


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Research Setting

This research study will be conducted at Cotabato City State Polytechnic College

(CCSPC)-Laboratory High School which is located along Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City.

Laboratory High School is inside CCSPC campus. The respondents in this research will be

gathered randomly from the three sections of Grade 10 of the said school with the total number

of 133 population of the students enrolled in the School Year 2017-2018.

Sampling Size and Sampling Technique

The respondents of this study are from Grade 10 students of Cotabato City

State Polytechnic College- Laboratory High School for the School Year 2017-2018 which have

133 populations of students. In determining the number of sample that should be distributed, the

researcher uses Slovin Formula. The Slovin Formula is n=N/(1+Ne2). The small letter stands for

the number of sample and the big letter N for the size of population. In this case, N is equal to

133 as for population of Grade 10 of Laboratory High School. The number 1 is constant while

small letter e squared denotes the marginal error multiply by itself. To get the e, we have to

subtract 95% as for confidence level from 100% so we'll get 5 then divide it to 100 and we'll

have 0.05 as error.

The Slovins Formula is: n= N

1+N (e) 2

n= 133

( 1+(133) (0.05)2)
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133

1+(133) (0.0025)2

133

1+ 0.3325

133

1.3325

= 99.81 or 100

The processes of choosing participants are through voluntary self-selection. The students who

agreed to participate to complete the 25-Item MARS and are asked to volunteer to be

interviewed. The thirty three participants who will be interviewed from the volunteer group are

chosen using the random sampling method.

The table below shows the distribution of respondents.

Section Sub –population Samples

Section A (Emerald) 46 33

Section B (Safire) 46 33

Section C (Amethyst) 41 34

Total 133 100


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Research Instrument
In this study, the researcher will be using three instruments: a survey questionnaire,

observation and an interview. The questionnaire is from the 10-Items Mathematics Anxiety Scale

(MAS) from Betz, N.E. (1978) where Wilder, et.al, (2014) used to assess the level of students

mathematics anxiety. The Grade 10 students of Laboratory High School will only choose their

answer from Strongly Agree or Agree, Undecided, and Disagree or Strongly disagree in each

questions and the 10-items researcher made questionnaire to measure the level of mathematics

performance. The mathematics performance of the said respondents will be based on their grade

from first grading up to fourth grading.

Reliability and Validity

The grade 10 students' of Laboratory High School mathematics anxiety from three

different sections will be measured through answered questionnaires prepared by the researchers.

It will be subjected to content validity with the help of expert that we’ll be sought.

The Mathematics Anxiety Scale (MAS) where Wilder, et.al, (2014) adopted from Betz,

N.E. (1978) which was deemed suitable for the research study. MAS has been found to have

acceptable internal consistency and test-retest reliability (Dew, Galassi & Galassi, 1984; Pajares

& Urdan, 1996).MAS is a 10-Items scale with five items positively worded and five items

negatively worded. The questions require self-assessment of respondents’ experiences of and


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feelings about studying mathematics, both in class and on tests.

For the reliability of research instrument, a pilot study will be conducted to the other

students who will be excluded as the respondents of this study. The response of respondents will

be processed and analyzed using the descriptive-correlational method and the results and analysis

will show the instrument is reliable.


Data Collection

The data are gathered by the researcher through first sending of letter that asking for

permission from the Dean and the Principal to administer the survey questionnaires. The

distribution and retrieval of the survey questionnaire are personally conducted by the researchers.

The researcher also asked the teacher of Grade 10 for their grades on mathematics.

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Mathematics Anxiety Scale (Nancy E. Betz)

Name:_________________________________ Age: _______


Year and Section: _________________
First Grading Grade: __________ Second Grading Grade: _________

Directions: A number of statements which people have used to describe themselves are given
below. For each statement check the indicates whether you Strongly Agree, Agree ,Strongly
Disagree, Undecided , Disagree. There are No wrong or right answers.

Question Strong Agree Disagree Strongly Undecided


Agree Disagree
1. It wouldn’t bother me all
at to take more math
classes.
2. I have usually been at
ease during math tests.
3. I have usually been at
ease in math course.
4. I usually don’t worry
about my ability to solve
math problem.
5. I almost never get uptight
while taking math test.
6. I get really uptight
during math test.
7. I get a sinking feeling
when I think of trying
hard math problems.
8. My mind goes blank and
I am unable to think
clearly when working on
mathematics.
9. Mathematics makes me
feel uncomfortable and
nervous.
10. Mathematics makes me
feel uneasy and confused.

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References:

Ashcraft, M.H. (2002). Math Anxiety: Personal, Educational, Cognitive consequences.

Current Directions in Psychological Science.


Betz, Nancy E. (1987). Prevalence, distribution, and correlates of math anxiety in college

Students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 25(5), 441-448. Doi:10.1037/0022

0167.25.5.441

Carey, E., Hill, F., Devine, A., & Szucs, D. (2016) The chicken or the egg? The direction of the

relationship between mathematics performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(1987). Doi:

10.3389/fpsyyg.2015.01987

Hembree (1990). The Nature, Effects, and Relief of Mathematics Anxiety. Journal for

Research in Mathematics Education, 21(1), 33-46.

Kamla- Raj 2009 Int J Edu Sci, 1(1): 33-37 (2009)

Morada M.H Correlation of Numerical Anxiety and Mathematics Performance Asia

Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Research Vol. 3 No.5 45-53 December 2015 Part III

(www.apjmr.com)

Suinn,R.M., and Winston, E.H (2003)’ The mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale

Psychometric data; Psychometric Reports, 92’ 167-173

Wilder, et.al, (2014). A survey of Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematical Resilience

Among existing apprentices. The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, p.44

https

https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide

https://www.nmu.edu>files>Userfiles by C Dobson 2012