09 SES 06 B, Investigating Outcomes in the STEM-field at Primary- and Lower Secondary School Level
Mathematics, science and reading are domains very much in the spotlight of researchers, education specialists and policy makers. High attainment in these is considered pivotal for later performance in life and overall lifelong learning attainment. Studies largely confirm students’ attitudes and self-related beliefs on particular subject domains like mathematics and science are considered important for their achievement in these domains (Arens et al., 2016; Schunk & Pajares, 2009). At the same time early experiences, namely parents’ practices related to home literacy and home numeracy environment prior school enrolment, also represent significant positive predictors of student achievement later on (Manatolis et al., 2013) together with overall access to home resources for learning (Bradley & Corwyn, 2016) and parents’ attitudes and expectations related to school and subject domains (Skwarchuk, Sowinski & LeFevre, 2014).
Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assess achievement in mathematics and science in grades 4 and 8. In both mathematics and science, the assessment framework is organized around two dimensions: the content dimension specifying domains to be assessed, and a cognitive dimension specifying the thinking processes. The content domains and the topic areas within the domains are described separately for the two grades (Mullis & Martin, 2013).
Apart from the achievement tests, data are also collected from students, teachers and school principals. In respect to the students’ questionnaire these include information on students’ attitudes towards mathematics and science and perceived self-confidence. First results from the 2015 cycle show fourth grade students are very positive about their mathematics teaching, but less about the subject. On average across countries only 5% of students report less than engaging teaching. However 23% of 4th grade students feel they are not confident in math while 19% do not like learning math (Mullis, Martin, Foy & Hooper, 2016). In comparison with the 2011 data the 2015 data shows more of a decrease than increase in liking maths across countries, and the same trend is visible for confidence in maths. When it comes to science fourth grade students were very positive about their science teaching, but again less about the subject. 6% report on less than engaging teaching, while 18% report not being confident in science and 11% do not like learning science (Martin, Mullis, Foy, & Hooper, 2016). Comparison between TIMSS 2011 and 2015 data shows more of a decrease than increase in liking science in 2015, but an opposite trend for confidence in science.
From the 2015 cycle survey in grade 4 also includes data from the parents allowing collection of data related to parents’ attitudes and expectations, home literacy and home numeracy environment and access to home resources for learning.
Focus of this paper is on understanding patterns of students’ self-related beliefs on mathematics and science in grade 4 across European countries and whether these can be associated with achievement patterns in the domain. Later on we observe mediating role of home literacy and home numeracy environment and access to home resources for learning in the selected groups.
Arens, A.K., Marsh, H.W., Craven, R.G., Yeung, A.S, Randhawa, E., & Hasselhorn, M. (2016). Math self-concept in preschool children: Structure, achievement relations, and generalizability across gender. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 391–403. Bradley, R. & Corwyn, R. (2016). Home Life and the Development of Competence in Mathematics: Implications of Research with the HOME Inventor. In Blevins-Knabe, B. & Berghout Austin, A. M. (Eds.), Early Childhood Mathematics Skill Development in the Home Environment (pp.29-49). Cham: Springer. Manolitsis, G., Georgiou, G. K., & Tziraki, N. (2013). Examining the effects of home literacy and numeracy environment on early reading and math acquisition. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28 (4), 692–703. Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS 2015 International Results in Science. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2015/international-results/ Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS 2015 International Results in Mathematics. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2015/international-results/ Mullis, I.V.S., & Martin, M.O. (Eds.). (2013). TIMSS 2015 Assessment Frameworks. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Schunk, D. H., & Pajares, F. (2009). Self-efficacy theory. In K. R. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school, (pp. 35- 53). New York: Routledge. Skwarchuk, S.L., Sowinski, C., & LeFevre, J.A. (2014). Formal and informal home learning activities in relation to children’s early numeracy and literacy skills: The development of a home numeracy model. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 121, 63–84.
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