Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Currin


The aim of this mixed-methods action research study was to determine how my fifth-grade students were impacted by negative mathematical identity and/or math anxiety and to uncover the impact of constructivist-aligned instructional strategies on students’ mathematical identity. Grounded in a theoretical framework based on constructivist learning theory, identity theory, and communities of practice, the study used a convergent mixed-methods action research approach to investigate the following research questions:

How does negative mathematical identity and/or math anxiety impact my students? 2) What classroom practices contribute to the development of negative mathematical identity and how can those practices be replaced? 3) How do constructivist-aligned instructional strategies affect mathematical identity in fifth-grade students? Results derived from pre- and post-intervention surveys, semi-structured interviews, and exit slips indicate that many of my students suffered from some degree of math anxiety or negative mathematical identity. Additionally, study results show an increase in overall positive beliefs about mathematics and increased self-efficacy in mathematics during constructivist-aligned intervention. Based on these results, I conclude that constructivist- aligned strategies and practices contribute to an increased positive mathematical identity in fifth-grade learners.