Prior Achievement, Effort, and Mathematics Attitude as Predictors of Current AchievementReport as inadecuate

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Australian Educational Researcher, v37 n2 p41-58 Aug 2010

A sample of Australian secondary school students was used to explore the relationships among a set of standardised Year 7 numeracy and literacy tests, measures taken at Year 10 of mathematics attitude and schoolwork effort, and Mathematics and English scores in a state-wide Year 10 examination. Additionally, the predictive capacity of the numeracy and literacy tests, together with the attitude and effort measures, were examined in relation to the Mathematics and English scores. A correlation analysis showed that the numeracy and literacy tests were positively and significantly related and had similar relationships with the two Year 10 examination scores. Mathematics attitude was significantly associated with Year 10 Mathematics but effort did not correlate significantly with either of the Year 10 examination scores. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated that the relevant Year 7 test results contributed to a considerable amount of the total variance in the two Year 10 examination scores. A sub-sample of the students was interviewed and four case studies were selected to interrogate the notions of achievement, mathematics attitude, and effort. Although these case studies act as a source of qualitative evidence to supplement the quantitative findings, they also indicate that effort, in particular, is a notion worthy of further investigation. Other implications for researchers, as well as school personnel, are noted. (Contains 10 tables.)

Descriptors: Student Attitudes, Numeracy, Correlation, Case Studies, Secondary School Students, Predictor Variables, Mathematics Achievement, Prior Learning, Cognitive Ability, Learner Engagement, Questionnaires, Achievement Tests, Predictive Measurement, Mathematical Aptitude, Literacy

Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). P.O. Box 71, Coldstream, Victoria 3770, Australia. Tel: +61-0359-649-031; Fax: +61-0359-649-586; e-mail: aare[at]; Web site:

Author: Hemmings, Brian; Kay, Russell


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