**EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education**
Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2011), pp. 227-242

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**Research Article**

*Published online on Jul 01, 2016*

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**How do Students’ Mastery and Performance Goals Relate to Math Anxiety?**

Joseph M. Furner & Alyssa Gonzalez-DeHass

A changing, economically competitive world has necessitated reform in mathematics

education. Yet mathematics anxiety has been a prevalent concern among educators and

others in our society for decades. Some students tend to be more anxious about the

testing process and can often freeze up, others just cringe when they are confronted with

any form of computational exercise, or others dread taking math classes which can occur

in the elementary, middle, high, and even at the college levels. Educators, parents,

politicians, and others are trying to assess the cause for the apparent academic weakness of

mathematics, and solutions to the problem are being sought. Our focus in this paper is to

tease apart the underlying causes of math anxiety that result from a teacher’s instructional

practice, particularly how mastery and performance goals relate to the construct of math

anxiety, and how a teachers’ understanding of creating mastery-oriented classrooms can

help to prevent or reduce the anxiety students experience during mathematics. Research

indicates that classroom practices can influence the goals students adopt, and that

educators should strive to create mastery-oriented classrooms by examining the nature of

the tasks they assign students, the authority or degree they involve students in academic

decision-making, the types of evaluation and recognition they utilize, and the classroom

climate they create.

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