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, “feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in ordinary and academic situations” (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.