Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Rachel Brown PhD

Second Advisor

Mark W. Steege PhD

Third Advisor

Heather Alvarez PhD


Peer-assisted learning strategies, relaxation techniques, anxiety, PsyD


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an adaptation of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) in mathematics on achievement and anxiety of third grade students. Four intact classrooms were randomly assigned to experimental or control condition groups. Experimental teachers implemented one of three interventions: PALS, a relaxation technique (RT), or PALS+RT twice weekly for 12 weeks. Outcome measures included AIMSweb’s curriculum based measure for math computation (MCOMP) and the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale, Second Edition (RCMAS-2). Within the classrooms, baseline, pre-test, and post-test data were collected on 79 students. The study did not reveal statistically significant results, however, results indicated that students in the PALS+RT group made the greatest gains in math achievement and students in the RT group had the greatest reduction in anxiety. The results suggest that PALS can be adapted to include a brief relaxation technique and that relaxation techniques may be beneficial in reducing student anxiety symptoms.