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Maths self-efficacy and achievement

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Students’ maths self-efficacy is their belief that they can solve mathematics problems, and has been shown to have links with mathematics achievement. This research investigates the extent to which Year 4 to 10 students view themselves as capable learners of mathematics, how their views change over time, and how these views are associated with their achievement in mathematics. This research draws together two inter-related aspects of the New Zealand curriculum: the key competency, Managing self, in which students see themselves as capable learners, and the learning area of mathematics and statistics – the context in which this self-belief is being examined.

What do we aim to find out?

·         How do distributions of students' mathematics self-efficacy vary according to year-level and other key demographic factors?

·         How does students' mathematics self-efficacy change over time?

·         How does the relationship between students' mathematics self-efficacy and achievement change over time?

What’s happening in this project?

During 2016, we trialed the maths self-efficacy items with over 1,000 students. Thank you to the principals, teachers and students that helped us achieve this. The trial showed us how the questions work, and that they’re ready for wider use as part of this research.

The maths self-efficacy items are now available to all schools whose students use the online PAT: Mathematics, and you can read more about these items. 

More information about this research is freely available in the Assessment News section of this issue of set: Research information for teachers.

This project is funded through NZCER's Government Grant from the Ministry of Education.