Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing



Research Sponsor

Christine Heifner Graor, PhD, MSN, RN

First Reader

Lisa Hart

Second Reader

Linda Shanks


Although nurses spend up to 40% of their day calculating and administering medication doses, undergraduate nursing students often perform poorly on nursing math exams. The purpose of this study was (a) to examine the relationship among mathematical education, performance, and anxiety and (b) to compare the mathematical education, performance, and anxiety in sophomore and senior baccalaureate nursing students at a public university in the Midwest. This cross-sectional, descriptive study was guided by Bandura's self-efficacy theory. Math performance was measured with an 11-item math instrument, math education was measured with number of math courses, and math anxiety was measured with Fennema–Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scale. The sample (N=164) was 17% males and 83% females (age mean=22 years, SD=5.24). Approximately 60% of subjects were sophomores. Regardless of math education, math performance moderately and negatively correlated with anxiety dimensions, (r=-.39 to -.46, p <..001). No differences in math anxieties and math performance were found in sophomore and senior levels. Analysis with randomly selected female cases to create equal gender groups (N=63) showed no gender differences in math performance, math education, and math anxiety dimensions except for anxiety taking math tests (t=-2.24, p=.03), with females reporting higher anxiety than males reported.