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**Presenter: Glenroy “Ajaniah” Pinnock**

Title: A Study Exploring Mathematics Anxiety in Adult Business Students Presenter: Glenroy “Ajaniah” Pinnock Being a lecturer of math/physics at the University of Technology, Jamaica, I noticed a difference between the adult students studying mathematics in business groups from those studying mathematics in the engineering groups. For many years I have been thinking about the problem, and have had many discussions with my colleagues about the corrective measures that could be taken. It is from this major concern, and after weeks of literature review, that I constructed this topic. In this scenario, I will embarking on a qualitative study to shed light on mathematics anxiety.

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Problem Statement The topic that stimulates my interest is mathematics anxiety. In this study, I will be seeking to find out the age range that is mostly affected by this anxiety. At the University of Technology we are not sure why many adult business students are failing math. Therefore, we should be encouraging adult business learners to reduce their fear of mathematics, particularly of pre-calculus and college algebra. We can reduce the anxiety by using new alternatives to make math more practically related to business students. Also, the time has come to eradicate the stereotype that adults are “too old to learn.”Indeed, these areas will be explored in this case. According to Merriam (2009), the problem statement of a dissertation /thesis or project study is a well crafted paragraph that lays out the logic of the research study. There are three components: context, identification of knowledge gap, and stating clearly the significance of problem.

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References Ashcraft, M. H., & Krause, J. A. (2007). Working memory, math performance, and math anxiety. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2007, 14 (2), Retrieved from Yenilmez, K., Girginer, N., & Uzun, O. (2007). Mathematics anxiety and attitude level of students of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administrator: The Turkey model. International Mathematical Forum Journal, 2 (41), 1997 – Retrieved from 2007/yenilmezIMF pdf Yuksel , D. (2008). Mathematics anxiety questionnaire: Development and validation. Essays in Education, 23, Retrieved from The three articles focused on math mathematics anxiety. First, the researchers showed how lower cognitive ability (i.e., is memory) could be affected by math anxiety. This is a very important research because all aspects of math require at least memory. Second, the researchers showed a relationship between math anxiety, math attitude, and mathematics success in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. However, there was no relationship found for math anxiety and gender. Third, a questionnaire to measure math anxiety of students was developed. This instrument was administered to students, and it was proven to have acceptable reliability coefficients, which includes; .83, .77, .75, and Furthermore, they showed that some adults/students avoid higher educational studies because of the fear for math.

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Purpose of Study The purpose of this study is to understand why so many adult business mathematics students are failing college math/pre- calculus, as a result of math anxiety. According to Merriam (2009, p. 62), “the purpose of a study is usually the last sentence of the problem statement essay”. In actuality, this statement encompasses the reason for the research study.

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**Questions Guiding the Study**

#1: How would you describe your mathematical history (i.e., prior to and during math examinations) from primary/preparatory school until now? #2: How many hours do you spend practicing math, and what are some of the difficulties you have at the beginning of your math course? It is important for researchers to use foreshadowed questions in qualitative studies, because these questions will guide the researcher at the start and throughout the study (Lodico et al., 2010). The two questions above would be the first two questions asked in the interview during data collection.

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Research Design The design will be a case study. In this study, the participants will be purposefully sampled, so that key information is given In this study a bounded group (i.e., fixed amount of 25 participants) of adult math business students from the University of Technology, Jamaica, will be interviewed. According to Merriam (2009), a case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context (p. 40). Also, this design study can be done in one semester, which is an appropriate time, because all the math courses at the university are done over a period of one semester.

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**Data Collection Methods**

I will use interviews, observations, and analysis of math examination grade sheets. Firstly, the interviews will be open-ended talks with each student from the group. This will ensure interactive discussion. Also, the teacher/lecturer will be interviewed. Secondly, I will be observing the students while they engage in discussion with the teacher. During this time I will tick off pointers on my observational check list. Thirdly, I will analyze the students’ test grade documents to understand how math anxiety is linked to students’ performance. According to Lodico et al. (2010), multiple sources and perspectives is a key characteristic of the case study approach. Hence, the three data collection methods will be administered to the participants of the research study.

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Data Analysis Since I will be taking three data sources into consideration, I will arrange data in codes. Then I will code in 15-20, from which categories will be formed. The chart above gives detailed steps that I will be taken during my research study. Bear in mind that the steps will not be linear because I will be moving backward and forward during data collection. In essence, data analysis will start as soon as the data collection process commences, these data will be examined and reexamined to identify themes. According to Lodico et al. (2010), themes are typically “ big ideas” that combine many codes, which allows the researcher to examine foreshadowed questions guiding the study. From these themes, a thick rich description will be narrated. In order to complete the case study in one semester, I would use an electronics recorder to tape the individual interviews, so that the transcription process takes less time. In addition, I would use the Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) as an organizing and categorizing tool. With this data analyzing approach I believe that the task of data analysis for my case study research would be less tedious.

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Validity Techniques Triangulation of the data sources – that is comparing different data sources. Member checks – the participants reviewing of transcribed interviews to avoid the researcher’s bias. Confirmation that key information is given by the participants External auditing – this is done by an independent researcher to examine the collected data. Peer debriefing – a colleague checking field notes and then asking the researcher questions, to diversify the researcher’s views, so that new alternatives can be evolved from the data. To do this case study of high credibility, I will employ the above validity techniques.

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References Lodico, M. G., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2010). Educational research: From theory to practice. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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