Research Article

Relationship between pre-service teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching fractions and their teaching practices: What is the role of teacher anxiety?

Charles Kwabena Sie 1 * , Douglas Darko Agyei 1
More Detail
1 Department of Mathematics and ICT Education, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, GHANA* Corresponding Author
Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, 4(2), 2023, ep23017,
Published Online: 08 May 2023, Published: 01 July 2023
OPEN ACCESS   118 Views   91 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)


This study examined the role of mathematics anxiety in the relationship between pre-service teachers’ (PSTs’) mathematical knowledge for teaching fractions (MKTF) and their teaching practices. The study was based on the mathematics teaching proficiency model that identifies teacher knowledge and productive dispositions as variables that influence teachers’ practice. Data was collected from 171 PSTs using three instruments: mathematical knowledge for teaching fractions test, teaching practices test and mathematics anxiety questionnaire. Based on bi-variate correlation analyses, the results showed significant correlations: between PSTs’ MKTF and their teaching practices, and PSTs’ MKTF and their mathematics anxiety. Multiple regression analyses further showed that PSTs’ MKTF significantly predicted their teaching practices, and that anxiety increased magnitude of regression coefficient associated with MKTF in predicting performance in teaching practices. However, since the increase was insignificant, the study concluded that anxiety does not perform any significant role in the relationship between PSTs’ MKTF and their teaching practices. Thus, the study asserts that to train mathematics teachers in Ghana to proficiently teach mathematics depend on training them to acquire mathematical knowledge for teaching and independent of their anxiety levels. This study has implications for mathematics teacher education and professional development in Ghana.


Sie, C. K., & Agyei, D. D. (2023). Relationship between pre-service teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching fractions and their teaching practices: What is the role of teacher anxiety?. Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, 4(2), ep23017.


  1. Abreh, M. K., Owusu, K. A., & Amedahe, F. K. (2018). Trends in performance of WASSCE candidates in the science and mathematics in Ghana: Perceived contributing factors and the way forward. Journal of Education, 198(1), 113-123.
  2. Addae, B. D., & Agyei, D. D. (2018). High school students’ attitudes towards the study of mathematics and their perceived teachers’ teaching practices. European Journal of Educational and Development Psychology, 6(2), 1-14.
  3. Adler, J., Ball, D. L., Krainer, K., Lin, F. L., & Novatna, J. (2005). Reflections on an emerging field: Researching mathematics teacher education. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 60, 359-381.
  4. Anamuah-Mensah, J., & Mereku, D. K. (2005). Ghanaian JSS2 students’ abysmal mathematics achievement in TIMSS 2003: A consequence of the basic school mathematics curriculum. Mathematics Connection, 5(1), 1-13.
  5. Anamuah-Mensah, J., Mereku, D. K., & Asabere-Ameyaw, A. (2004). Ghanaian junior secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics and science: Results from Ghana’s participation in the 2003 trends in international mathematics and science study. Ministry of Education Youth and Sports.
  6. Arbaugh, F., Lannin, J., Jones, D. L., & Park-Rogers, M. (2006). Examining instructional practices in core-plus lessons: Implications for professional development. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 9(6), 517-550.
  7. Artzt, A. F., & Armour-Thomas, E. (1999). A cognitive model for examining teachers’ instructional practice in mathematics: A guide for facilitating teacher refection. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 40(3), 211-235.
  8. Austin, S., Wadlington, E., & Bitner, J. (1992). Effect of beliefs about mathematics on math anxiety and math self-concept in elementary teachers. Education, 112(3), 390-396.
  9. Avcu, R. (2019). Turkish pre-service middle level mathematics teachers’ knowledge for teaching fractions. RMLE Online, 42(9), 1-20.
  10. Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59, 389-407.
  11. Banilower, E. R., Boyd, S. E., Pasley, J. D., & Weiss, I. R. (2006). Lessons from a decade of mathematics and science reform: A capstone report for the local systemic change through teacher enhancement initiative. Horizon Research, Inc.
  12. Battista, M. T. (1986). The relationship of mathematics anxiety and mathematical knowledge to the learning of mathematical pedagogy by preservice elementary teachers. School Science and Mathematics, 86(1), 10-19.
  13. Bessant, K. C. (1995). Factors associated with types of mathematics anxiety in college students. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 26(4), 327-345.
  14. Borich, G. D. (2014). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice, 8/E. Pearson.
  15. Brady, P., & Bowd, A. (2005) Mathematics anxiety, prior experience and confidence to teach mathematics among pre-service education students. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 11(1), 37-46.
  16. Bryant, M. M. G. (2009). A study of pre-service teachers: Is it really mathematics anxiety? [PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts Amherst].
  17. Charalambous, C. Y. (2008). Preservice teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching and their performance in selected teaching practices: Exploring a complex relationship [PhD thesis, University of Michigan].
  18. Charalambous, C. Y. (2015). Working at the intersection of teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs, and teaching practice: A multiple case study. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 18(5), 427-445.
  19. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Lawrence Erlbaum.
  20. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2018). Research methods in education. Routledge.
  21. Cole, Y. (2012). Assessing elemental validity: The transfer and use of mathematical knowledge for teaching measures in Ghana. ZDM, 44(3), 415-426.
  22. Conger, A. J. (1974). A revised definition for suppressor variables: A guide to their identification and interpretation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 34(1), 35-46.
  23. Courville, T., & Thompson, B. (2001). Use of structure coefficients in published multiple regression articles: b is not enough. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 61, 229-248.
  24. de Groot, A. (1965). Thought and choice in chess. Mouton.
  25. Ernest, P. (1989). The knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of the mathematics teacher: A model. Journal of Education for Teaching, 15(1), 13-33.
  26. Fennema, E., & Franke, M. L. (1992). Teachers’ knowledge and its impact. In D. A. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 147-164). Macmillan.
  27. Fumador, S. E., & Agyei, D. D. (2018). Students’ errors and misconceptions in algebra: Exploring the impact of remedy using diagnostic conflict and conventional teaching approaches, International Journal of Education, Learning and Development, 6(10), 1-15.
  28. Gresham, G. (2008). Mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy in elementary pre-service teachers. Teaching Education, 19(3), 171-184.
  29. Hashimoto-Gotoh, T., Iwabe, N., Tsujimura, A., Takao, K., & Miyakawa, T. (2009). KF-1 ubiquitin ligase: An anxiety suppressor. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 3, 4.
  30. Haylock, D. (2003) Mathematics explained for primary teachers. Paul Chapman.
  31. Herbst, P. G. (2006). Teaching geometry with problems: Negotiating instructional situations and mathematical tasks. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 37(4), 313-347.
  32. Hiebert, J., & Grouws, D. A. (2007). The effects of classroom mathematics teaching on students’ learning. In F. K. Lester Jr (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 371-404).
  33. Hill, H. C., Blunk, M., Charalambous, C. Y., Lewis, J. M., Phelps, G. C., Sleep, L., & Ball, D. L. (2008). Mathematical knowledge for teaching and the mathematical quality of instruction: An exploratory study. Cognition and Instruction, 26, 430-511.
  34. Hill, H. C., Schilling, S. G., & Ball, D. L. (2004). Developing measures of teachers’ mathematics knowledge for teaching. The Elementary School Journal, 105(1), 11-30.
  35. Hinton, P., McMurray, I., & Brownlow, C. (2014). SPSS explained. Routledge.
  36. Hoover, M., Mosvold, R., Ball, D. L., & Lai, Y. (2016). Making progress on mathematical knowledge for teaching. The Mathematics Enthusiast, 13(1), 3-34.
  37. Horst, P. (1941). The prediction of personnel adjustment. Social Science Research and Council Bulletin, 48, 431-436.
  38. Kelly, W. P., & Tomhave, W. K. (1985). A study of math anxiety/math avoidance in preservice elementary teachers. Arithmetic Teacher, 32(5), 51-53.
  39. Kilpatrick, J., Swafford, J., & Findell, B. (Eds.) (2001). Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. National Academy Press.
  40. Kogelman, S., & Warren, J. (1978) Mind over math. McGraw Hill.
  41. Kulm, G., & Li, Y. (2009). Curriculum research to improve teaching and learning: National and cross-national studies. ZDM, 41(6), 709.
  42. Levine, G. (1996). Variability in anxiety for teaching mathematics among pre-service elementary school teachers enrolled in a mathematics course.
  43. Lindner, J. R., Murphy, T. H., & Briers, G. E. (2001). Handling nonresponse in social science research. Journal of Agricultural Education, 42(4), 43-53.
  44. Loukas, A., Paulos, S. K., & Robinson, S. (2005). Early adolescent social and overt aggression: Examining the roles of social anxiety and maternal psychological control. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34(4), 335-345.
  45. Lui, A. M., & Bonner, S. M. (2016). Preservice and inservice teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and instructional planning in primary school mathematics. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 1-13.
  46. May, D. K. (2009). Mathematics self-efficacy and anxiety questionnaire [PhD thesis, University of Georgia].
  47. McFatter, R. M. (1979). The use of structural equation models in interpreting regression equations including suppressor and enhancer variables. Applied Psychological Measurement, 3, 123-135.
  48. Mereku, D. K. (2012). Quality education, challenges of less endowed schools: The role of the students [Paper presentation]. The 2nd Speech and Prize Given Day Celebration of the Apeguso SHS.
  49. Mischel, W., & Shoda, Y. (1995). A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: reconceptualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure. Psychological Review, 102(2), 246.
  50. MoE. (2017). The national teacher education curriculum framework: The essential elements of initial teacher education. Ministry of Education, Ghana.
  51. Pandey, S., & Elliott, W. (2010). Suppressor variables in social work research: Ways to identify in multiple regression models. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 1(1), 28-40.
  52. Peker, M. (2009). Pre-service teachers’ teaching anxiety about mathematics and their learning styles. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 5(4), 335-345.
  53. Perry, A. B. (2004). Decreasing math anxiety in college students. College Student Journal, 38(2), 321.
  54. Raudenbush, S. W. (2008). Advancing educational policy by advancing research on instruction. American Educational Research Journal, 45(1), 206-230.
  55. Rayner, V., Pitsolantis, N., & Osana, H. (2009). Mathematics anxiety in preservice teachers: Its relationship to their conceptual and procedural knowledge of fractions. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 21(3), 60-85.
  56. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211-246.
  57. Sabers, D. S., Cushing, K.S., & Berliner, D.C. (1991). Differences among teachers in a task characterized by simultaneity, multidimensionality, and immediacy. American Educational Research Journal, 28, 63-88.
  58. Shechtman, N., Roschelle, J., Haertel, G., & Knudsen, J. (2010). Investigating links from teacher knowledge to classroom practice, to student learning in the instructional system of the middle-school mathematics classroom. Cognition and Instruction, 28(3), 317-359.
  59. Shieh, G. (2006). Suppression situations in multiple linear regression. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 66, 435-447.
  60. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.
  61. Stein, K. M., & Smith, M. S. (1998). Mathematical tasks as a framework for reflection: From research to practice. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 3(4), 268275.
  62. Stein, M. K., Remillard, J., & Smith, M. S. (2007). How curriculum influences student learning. In F. K. Lester Jr (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 319-369). Information Age.
  63. Sugilar, S. (2016). Factors of students participating in online examination. Journal of Education and Learning, 10(2), 119-126.
  64. Swars, S. L., Daane, C. J., & Giesen, J. (2006). Mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy: What is the relationship in elementary preservice teachers? School Science and Mathematics, 106(7), 306-315.
  65. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. A. (2007). Using multivariate statistics. Pearson Education.
  66. Tarr, J. E., Chàvez, O., Reys, R. E., & Reys, B. J. (2006). From the written to the enacted curricula: The intermediary role of middle school mathematics teachers in shaping students’ opportunity to learn. School Science and Mathematics, 106(4), 191-201.
  67. Tobias, S. (1978). Overcoming math anxiety. W. W. Norton & Company.
  68. Trice, A. D., & Ogden, E. D. (1986). Correlates of mathematics anxiety in first-year elementary school teachers. Educational Research Quarterly, 11(3), 2-4.
  69. Van de Walle, J. A. (2010). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (7th edn.). Allyn & Bacon.
  70. Vinson, B. M. (2001). A comparison of preservice teachers’ mathematics anxiety before and after a methods class emphasizing manipulatives. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2), 89-94.
  71. WAEC Report. (2019). Chief examiners’ report in basic education certificate examination. West African Examination Council.
  72. Weiss, I. R., & Pasley, J. D. (2004). What is high-quality instruction? Educational Leadership, 61(5), 24.
  73. Wilkins, J. L. M. (2008). The relationship among elementary teachers’ content knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 11, 139-164.