Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Science Education (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Advisor 1

Emily Dare

Committee Member 1

Amy Lark

Committee Member 2

John Irwin


Research indicates that a myriad of possibilities exist for why students perform poorly in mathematics and also suggests strategies that could help students be more proficient in mathematics. The possible factors that hinder performance in mathematics include perception of abilities, motivation and relevance, resilience in challenges, mathematics anxiety, and sense of belonging. These factors all have the underlying feature of emotional affect that hinder mathematical performance and are related to students’ emotions. Therefore, increasing emotional affect and forming methods for working through the emotions related to mathematics may help all students do better in mathematics as a whole. This requires identifying what practices educators could implement for increasing emotional affect and positively changing emotions related to mathematics. This research explored the impacts of an intervention that utilized discussing emotions tied to mathematics along with classroom best practices to reduce mathematics anxiety and promote positive student affect towards mathematics. Based on the data analysis and interviews, this research suggests that discussing emotions in mathematics courses about emotional affect connected to mathematics can be beneficial to students. Furthermore, a positive phrase developed by the student through reflection was found to be a helpful motivator and tool to help students.