Cosgrove, Fay

Research Topic:
Mathematics Anxiety
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof Malcolm WIlliams and Dr Charlotte Brookfield
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I am a part-time student and my research interests lie in the intersection of Education and Psychology. I am a Psychology graduate and have 18 years primary classroom teaching experience. I have a Masters’ degree in Education and another in Social Science Research Methods.

My proposed research looks at Maths Anxiety (MA). MA is defined as, ā€œfeelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in ordinary and academic situationsā€ (Richardson and Suinn, 1972, p.551). It is much more than a dislike of mathematics. Individuals with high MA are not necessarily poor at mathematics, rather are prevented from demonstrating their mathematics abilities (Beilock, 2008, National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008). Mathematics-anxious people often avoid doing mathematics (Maloney et al., 2013).

I am interested in developing a psychometrically-robust, UK-specific tool for measuring MA in primary school teachers, aiming to establish associated normative data for Wales. I aim to incorporate sub-scales for state and trait maths anxiety.

Beilock, S.L., 2008. Math performance in stressful situations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(5), pp.339-343.

Maloney, E.A., Schaeffer, M.W. & Beilock, S.L., 2013. Mathematics anxiety and stereotype threat: Shared mechanisms, negative consequences and promising interventions. Research in Mathematics Education, 15(2), pp.115-128.

National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008. (Online) Available at

Richardson, F., & Suinn, R., 1972. ‘Mathematics anxiety rating scale: psychometric data’, Journal Of Counselling Psychology, 19, pp. 551-554.