Goals, Values, and Beliefs as Predictors of Achievement and Effort in High School Mathematics Classes1

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Abstract

Gender and motivation in high school mathematics class were examined by using an expectancy-value framework. There were 366 students (146 males, 212 females)from a school with an enrollmentof approximately 1900 students (81% Caucasian, 8% Native American, 5% Hispanic, 4% African American, and 2% Asian). These students completed a questionnaire consisting of 92 items which measured students' situation-specific goals (4 subscales), task-specific values (3 subscales), task-specific beliefs (3 subscales), and gender self-schemata (2 subscales). Students' percentage grade in math and selfreported effort in math class were the dependent variables. The three sets of task-specific variables each accounted for between 11% and 14% of variance in achievement, while the gender self-schemata variables contributed another 2%. Task-specific goals were much stronger predictors of effort than any other set of variables. An unexpected finding was that, for both males and females, endorsing the stereotype that mathematics is a male domain was negatively related to reported effort. There were also differences in the prediction of achievement and effort based on gender and math class type (required or elective). Several path models supported these results.

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