Hope Walter

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Scot Headley, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Susanna Thornhill, Ph.D


Eighty second-grade students participated in a five day study to assess the potential benefits of utilizing expressive writing as a tool to reduce math anxiety and increase math achievement in highly math-anxious (HMA), primary-age children. This quasi-experimental design used a three-way mixed ANOVA to assess if students with high math anxiety, as measured on the MASYC-R survey, would show decreased levels of math anxiety after expressively writing about mathematical concerns for one week, compared to their peers who wrote expressively about a topic of choice.

At posttest, many students did show an increase in math achievement and a decrease in anxiety, however, results indicated no statistically significant three-way or two-way interaction between anxiety, time, and type of expressive writing within this study. Both the MASYC-R and the i-Ready computational assessment were found to be reliable measures for assessing math anxiety in young children and mathematical computation respectively. Utilization of a larger sample size, a longer time frame for the study, and incorporating a true control group are suggestions for future research in the area of expressive writing as a means to reduce math anxiety in young children.