School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Veronica Sims


math anxiety, math intervention, best practices, middle school math, small group, working memory




The purpose of this intrinsic collective case study was to develop an in-depth understanding of how general education secondary math teachers in Virginia effectively identify students who suffer from math anxiety and what best practices are put in place to help reduce math-anxiety. This qualitative study attempted to explain the role of an effective mathematics teacher and the best practices utilized to identify successfully and teach students who suffer from math-anxiety. The focal participants in this collective case study were teachers that were identified by their district leadership team as teachers who successfully implement best practices that support students with math-anxiety in the classroom and empower them to become successful and confident math students. Data were collected through interviews of teachers and students, a focus group of teachers, and students’ writing. All data were analyzed and categorically aggregated by the researcher, and themes were identified as they emerged. This study sought to answer the following questions: how general education teachers from Virginia identify students with math-anxiety, what methods they would consider to be best practices, and what challenges they face when working with these particular students. Bandura’s social learning theory guided this study as teachers learn from observing their students’ behaviors in the classroom environment. Common themes for identifying students with math anxiety across cases were self-esteem, body language, and work avoidance. Patterns considered to be effective best practices are safe classroom environment, small group instruction, chunking content, and building confidence. Future research is recommended to include more cases and to consider the impact of high stakes testing on students with math anxiety.

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