09 SES 01 A, Findings from PISA: Students' Attitudes, Perceptions and Performance
In the age of lifelong learning perspective it is no longer enough for the students to attain high achievement in mathematics at the end of the compulsory education. Rather they are also expected to develop a positive pattern of self-related mathematics beliefs – e.g. to have positive perception of own mathematics efficacy, self-concept and intrinsic motivation for a specific domain. A student who develops the positive pattern of self-related mathematics beliefs will be ready to learn and excel her/himself throughout the life.
In the light of that mathematics related anxiety is observed as a state during which a student experiences negative reactions when coming across different mathematical concepts (e.g. numbers, geometry). The same goes when one is placed in situation of math knowledge evaluation (Cates & Rhymer, 2003).
At the same time, mathematics related anxiety is not observed as a merely psychological construct related only to the actual situation of solving math problems. Students who suffer from it also report on experiencing feeling of pressure, inadequacy and unease (Bai, Wang, Pan, & Frey, 2009; Zeidner and Matthews, 2011). Even more so if a student has had bad experiences early in school, math anxiety may continue to reappear later in life (Jackson & Leffingwell, 1999) and students may avoid future encounters with mathematics, related courses and even career paths (Ashcraft and Ridley, 2005; Haraekiewitz, Barron, Tauer, Carter, & Elliot, 2000; Lyons and Beilock, 2012; Wigfield, Battle, Keller, & Eceles, 2002).
In general poor performance in mathematics is associated with high mathematics anxiety (Ma and Xu, 2004) and results in so far confirm that students who experience anxiety tend to underperform in tasks compared to students with no or low levels of anxiety (Ma, 1999). Results of the PISA study in 2003 and 2012 (both cycles focused on mathematics) confirm strong association between mathematics anxiety and students’ performance. Across OECD countries, higher mathematics anxiety is associated with a 34-point lower score in maths. This is the equivalent of almost one year of school (OECD, 2013). As a whole some 30% of students reported that they feel helpless when doing mathematics problems. 24% were found among the advantaged and 35% among the disadvantaged students, while cross country variations remain high.
Focus of this study is to identify subgroups of students with different pattern of math achievements and math related beliefs (students’ perception of own mathematics efficacy, self-concept in mathematics and intrinsic motivation), to compare distribution of these subgroups in selected European countries as well as to identify factors differentiating students with the optimal pattern of high math achievement and positive self-related math beliefs. The comparison between different European countries will be the main concern of this paper. First results of an ongoing study are being reported.
Ashcraft, M.H. and K.S. Ridley (2005), Math anxiety and its cognitive consequences, in J.I.D. Campbell (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Cognition, (pp. 315-327) Psychology Press, New York. Bai, H., Wang, L.S., Pan, W. and Frey, M (2009). Measuring mathematics anxiety: psychometric analysis of a bidimensional affective scale. Journal of Instructional psychology, 36(3), 185-193. Harackicwitz, J.M., Barron, K.E., Tauer, J.M., Carter, S.M., & Elliot, A.J. (2000). Short-term and long-term consequences of achievement goals: Predicting interest and performance over time. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 316-330. Cates, G. L., & Rhymer, K. N. (2003). Examining the relationship between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance: An instructional hierarchy perspective. Journal of Behavioral Education, 12 , 23-34. Jackson, C., & Leffingwell, R. (1999). The role of instructors in creating math anxiety in students from kindergarten through college. Mathematics Teacher, 92(7), 583-587. Lyons, I.M. and S.L. Beilock (2012),“When math hurts: math anxiety predicts pain network activation in anticipation of doing math”, Plus ONE, 7(10), 1-6. Ma, X. and J.M. Xu (2004), “The causal ordering of mathematics anxiety and mathematics achievement: a longitudinal panel analysis”, Journal of Adolescence, 27(2), 165-179. Ma, X. (1999), “A meta-analysis of the relationship between anxiety toward mathematics and achievement in mathematics”, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30(5), pp. 520-540. OECD (2013). PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn – Students’ Engagement, Drive and Self-Beliefs (Volume III), PISA, OECD Publishing. Wigfield, A., Battle, A., Keller, L. B., & Eccles, J. S. (2002). Sex differences in motivation, self-concept, career aspiration, and career choice: implications for cognitive development. In A. McGillicuddy-De Lisi & R. De Lisi (Eds.), Biology, society, and behavior: The development of sex differences in cognition (pp. 93-124). Westport, CT: Ablex. Zeidner, M. and G. Matthews (2011), Anxiety 101, Springer, New York.
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