Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Sally Evans, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Michael Self, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Deborah Nattress, Ph.D.


implicit theories of intelligence, incremental theory of intelligence, entity theory of intelligence, growth mindset, fixed mindset, mathematics anxiety


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how professional development on the topics of mathematics anxiety and incremental theories of intelligence affect the planning and instruction of mathematics by classroom teachers, as well as changes in student mindset and grit as perceived by teachers. This study was conducted at a suburban elementary school in the northeast region of the United States over a six-week period using a sample size of six teachers in grades three through five. Data was collected via interviews and observations, and then coded using the grounded theory of constant comparison, resulting in five major themes: embracing mistakes, shifting mindset, developing grit, developing a growth mindset, and preparing for mathematics mentally. The data was triangulated to ensure creditability in the results, which found that the study supports current research on growth mindset and mathematics anxiety. Participants noticed an increase in student motivation and confidence after growth mindset interventions were implemented. The results indicate that teachers should consider utilizing growth mindset interventions in their classrooms to help their students develop a positive mindset, thus reducing anxious feelings in the mathematics classroom. Future research should include a study of students and teachers in kindergarten through second grade to compare the number of students in kindergarten with mathematics anxiety to the number of students with mathematics anxiety in second grade. This may provide insight into when mathematics anxiety begins in elementary age students.

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