Psychological and sociological correlates of mathematics achievement and ability among Grade 9 students

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1971

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This study sought to investigate inter-individual differences in mathematical performance among secondary school students, as well as between-group differences in mathematical performance of boys and girls, and of high and low socio-economic status. The criterion variables were three mathematics achievement tests, and together with reference tests for number and a standardized intelligence test, formed the battery of tests used in the study. The sample consisted of 335 Grade 9 students (144 boys, 191 girls; 147 in the high socio-economic group (HSES), 188 in the low socio-economic group (LSES)) of mean age 14.8 years, randomly selected from two large secondary schools, representative of the socio-economic levels of the district. Results of the data analysis revealed that: 1) Grade 9 students who received high scores in mathematics knowledge, and mathematics comprehension and application tests were better adjusted personally and socially; they also had more favourable scores on tests of attitude towards mathematics; 2) high achievers in mathematics knowledge, comprehension and application, and problem solving showed a higher and more favourable personality profile than those students who were high achievers in mathematics knowledge, and mathematics comprehension and application, or those who were high achievers in mathematics knowledge only; 3) those who were high achievers in mathematics knowledge and problem solving showed higher and more favourable personality profiles than those students who were high achievers on mathematics knowledge; 4) personality correlates of mathematics achievement appeared different for boys and girls; boys who obtained high scores on tests of mathematics application had more favourable scores on personal adjustment, and those who obtained high scores in problem solving had more favourable scores on social adjustment; girls who had high scores on tests of mathematics knowledge and application tended to obtain more favourable scores on social adjustment, in particular on school relations. They also had more favourable scores on tests of mathematics attitude; and 5) personality correlates of mathematics achievement also appeared different for HSES and LSES groups; those in the LSES group who did well on tests of mathematics application obtained higher and more favourable scores on tests of personal and social adjustment

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