Moderating effects of mathematics anxiety on the effectiveness of explicit timing

Sharnita D. Grays, Katrina N. Rhymer, Melissa D. Swartzmiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Explicit timing is an empirically validated intervention to increase problem completion rates by exposing individuals to a stopwatch and explicitly telling them of the time limit for the assignment. Though explicit timing has proven to be effective for groups of students, some students may not respond well to explicit timing based on factors such as mathematics anxiety. The present study examined the effects of explicit timing on mathematics performance for 81 fourth and fifth graders with differing levels of mathematics anxiety. Students completed more digits correct during explicit timing as compared to baseline and control. Additionally, results indicated there was a significant linear relationship between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance. Students with low and medium mathematics anxiety completed more digits correct with higher accuracy than students with high mathematics anxiety. Lastly, digits correct and accuracy remained consistent during baseline, control, and explicit timing when condition and anxiety level were both considered. Educational professionals must be cognizant not only of academic variables impacting students learning, but also mental health variables, such as mathematics anxiety, in order to provide a comprehensive treatment package capable of ameliorating academic difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Behavioral Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 25 2017


  • Anxiety
  • Explicit timing
  • Fluency
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics anxiety


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