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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/492

Title: The effect of mathematics anxiety on the course and career choice of high school vocational-technical education students
Authors: Scarpello, Gary Vincent
Keywords: Education;Math anxiety;Technical education
Issue Date: 22-Jun-2005
Abstract: Many students who suffer from mathematics anxiety have little confidence in their ability to do mathematics and tend to take the minimum number of required mathematics courses, greatly limiting their career choice options. This is unfortunate, especially as our society becomes more reliant on mathematical literacy. This study investigated whether course and career choices were affected by mathematics anxiety. The subjects of this study were suburban 9th grade vocational-technical education high school students from southeastern Pennsylvania. Although the study acquired only a small sample size, limiting the study’s generalizability, the data from the student interviews and questionnaires provided the following results. There was a negative correlation between mathematics anxiety and career efficacy. More than half of the students had moderate to high levels of mathematics anxiety and scored below the 50th percentile on the Career Choice Survey indicating low mathematics and career efficacy. Fifty-six percent of the students reported that they did not enjoy performing the career related mathematics required by their vocational-technical education lab curriculum. There was an increase in the number of students enrolled in below level courses in 9th grade from 8th grade. Students who demonstrated low mathematics anxiety tended to be enrolled in vocational-technical education labs requiring higher mathematical ability. These students also did well in their mathematics courses in elementary, middle/junior high and high school. Whereas, the students in the labs that did not require high-level mathematics ability tended to have significant levels of mathematics anxiety and reported that as they progressed through middle/junior high school, they were losing confidence in their ability to be successful in their academic mathematics courses. There was strong parental support for the students’ choice of career-related vocational-technical education courses, but very little parental support was given to the students to pursue academic mathematics courses. Recommendations from the study: Increased parental encouragement to pursue mathematics and the use of teaching methodologies that lessen mathematics anxiety in the student.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/492
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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