School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Michelle Barthlow


cognitive load, elementary mathematics, executive function, inhibition, mathematics word problems, mindfulness, shifting, updating


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this study was to determine if a 15-week mindfulness curriculum, MindUP, impacted participants’ performance on a standardized mathematics word problem measure. The study was conducted in two elementary schools in a large public school district in North Carolina during the 2020-2021 school year. Participants included 74 third- and fourth-grade students who received a supplemental mindfulness curriculum and 77 students who received only business as usual instruction (N = 151). The research question and null hypothesis were tested using a quantitative, quasi-experimental, pretest posttest, nonequivalent, control group design. The TOMA-3 Word Problems subtest was administered by school personnel to all participants and was used as the pretest and posttest instrument. An ANCOVA was used to determine if there was statistically significant difference TOMA-3 performance, based on group membership, while controlling for the covariate pretest score. The results of this study reveal no statistically significant difference in word problem performance following participation in the mindfulness curriculum. These findings reveal discrepancies with empirical evidence in favor of mindfulness practices in schools and raise questions for future examination. More work is needed to understand the specific components of mindfulness curricula that improve executive function skills and how these improvements transfer to mathematics performance.