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An investigation of the attitudes, anxieties and self-efficacy beliefs towards mathematics lessons high school students’ in terms of gender, types of school, and students’ grades

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Author(s): N. İzzet Kurbanoğlu | Mithat Takunyacı

Journal: International Journal of Human Sciences
ISSN 1303-5134

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 110;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Mathematics anxiety | attitudes towards mathematics | self-efficacy beliefs

ABSTRACT
In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition that mathematics anxiety plays an important role in students’ learning of mathematics and thus, mathematics anxiety has gained heightened awareness by mathematics educators as an important factor in the teaching of mathematics (Bursal & Paznokas, 2006; Thomas & Higbee, 1999; McLeod, 1988; Singh, Granville, & Dika, 2002; Sloan, Daane, & Geisen, 2002; Vinson, 2001; Zettle & Raines, 2000). Math anxiety defined by Richardson & Suinn (1972) as a “feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in a wide variety of ordinary life and academic situations”. Research demonstrated that the physiological, cognitive, and behavioral consequences of math anxiety may impair life functioning. For example, students who have math anxiety exhibit physiological reactivity to numeric stimuli and have faulty beliefs and negative attitudes regarding their problem solving abilities. These students also may avoid environment and careers that require utilization of math skills, and will sacrifice accuracy for speed when performing numeric tasks (Ashcraft & Kirk, 2001). Purpose and significanceThe purpose of this research is to examine whether there is a significant difference between the attitudes, anxieties, and self-efficacy beliefs towards mathematics lessons high school students’ in terms of gender, types of school and students’ grades. It is very important to reveal relationships between attitudes towards mathematics lessons, anxieties towards mathematics lessons and self-efficacy beliefs to develop high school students’ positive attitudes towards mathematics lessons.MethodsIn this study, descriptive research method was conducted. A total of 418 students, from three different school types participated in the study. The schools are Anatolian High School, Vocational High School and Public High School. Three scales were implemented on students to reveal relationships between students’ attitudes towards mathematics lessons, anxieties towards mathematics lessons and self-efficacy beliefs. The results obtained from scales were analyzed with SPSS 13.0.ResultsIt was observed in the findings of study that there are no statistically significant differences between students’ gender and scores of attitudes towards mathematics lessons, anxieties towards mathematics lessons and self-efficacy beliefs. But there are statistically significant differences between students’ types of school and students’ grades and scores of attitudes towards mathematics lessons, anxieties towards mathematics lessons and self-efficacy beliefs.Discussion and ConclusionsStudents’ achievements in mathematics lessons are directly related to students’ self-efficacy beliefs, attitudes towards mathematics lessons and anxieties towards mathematics lessons. Students’ mathematics achievements will increase because of students’ high self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics lessons. In this study, there are no statistically significant differences between students’ gender and scores of attitudes towards mathematics lessons, anxieties towards mathematics lessons and self-efficacy beliefs. But there are statistically significant differences between students’ types of school and students’ grades and scores of attitudes towards mathematics lessons, anxieties towards mathematics lessons and self-efficacy beliefs. While students’ who attended from successful schools- self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics lessons are high, their anxiety levels towards mathematics lessons are low. Besides, it was observed, when students’ grades increase, their self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics lessons get higher and their anxiety levels towards mathematics lessons get lower.
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