*Author: *Xuan Cuong Dang

- Thesis download: DangThesis2021.pdf [ 2.4 MB ]

Dang, Xuan Cuong, 2021 *The influence of students’ and teachers’ mathematics-related beliefs on students’ mathematics performance*, Flinders University, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

**Terms of Use:** This electronic version is (or will be) made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. You may use this material for uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact copyright@flinders.edu.au with the details.

The influence of students’ and teachers’ mathematics-related beliefs on students’ mathematics performance was investigated in a sample of 620 ninth grade students and 46 mathematics teachers from Vietnam. The beliefs of the students were investigated using a 76-item, 4-point Likert scale Mathematics-Related Beliefs Questionnaire for Students (MBQ-S), while a 61-item Mathematics-Related Beliefs Questionnaire for Teachers (MBQ-T) was used to investigate the beliefs of the teachers. The questionnaires included items investigating beliefs about the certainty of mathematics knowledge, the usefulness of mathematics, mathematical problem-solving, the role of effort, mathematics ability, self-efficacy, and mathematics teaching. Students’ mathematics performance was determined by using students’ scores in the district mathematics exam as well as by analysing their performance in two specially designed mathematics tests: one curriculum-based, and the other based on the OECD PISA assessment. The latter test was intended to investigate the transferability of mathematics knowledge to real-world contexts.

Confirmatory Factor Analysis was applied to assess each students’ belief construct in the process of obtaining the best measurement model, followed by structural equation modelling to investigate the influence of beliefs on the students’ performance. The best structural model revealed a complex pattern of interrelationships amongst beliefs, with beliefs about the nature of mathematics influencing beliefs about mathematics ability. Beliefs about mathematics ability were direct positive predictors of self-efficacy beliefs in mathematics which, in turn, were direct positive predictors of mathematics performance in all three tests.

Some of the most notable findings were the following: beliefs that mathematics knowledge is certain and unchangeable were direct positive predictors of beliefs that mathematics problem-solving is about memorising procedures. In contrast, beliefs that mathematics knowledge is useful were direct positive predictors of beliefs that mathematics problem-solving is about understanding procedures. Beliefs that problem-solving is about understanding procedures were direct positive predictors of beliefs about mathematics ability. The results also showed that students’ perception of their teacher practices influenced their beliefs that effort is important to improve mathematics learning, which, in turn, were direct positive predictors of beliefs about mathematics ability.

The results revealed that the Vietnamese students tended to agree with statements indicating that mathematics is useful and that effort is important to improve mathematics learning. They had high self-efficacy and positive perceptions of their teachers’ practices. An investigation of the differences between low and high performers in the test based on the OECD PISA exam revealed statistically significant differences. The high mathematics performers were more likely to agree with statements indicating that mathematics knowledge is not certain and absolute, that mathematics is useful, that problem solving is more about understanding than memorisation and statements indicating high self-efficacy in mathematics.

The data showed that the Vietnamese teachers held inconsistent beliefs about the certainty of mathematics knowledge, mathematical problem solving, students’ mathematics ability, and mathematics teaching. Multilevel structural equation modelling showed that teachers self-efficacy beliefs were direct positive predictors of their students’ mathematics performance. The model also showed that teachers’ beliefs that mathematics knowledge is malleable were direct positive predictors of their beliefs that mathematical problem-solving is about understanding procedures. In turn, these beliefs directly predicted teachers’ beliefs in the constructive teaching of mathematics.

The research revealed a meaningful pattern of complex relationships between the mathematics-related beliefs of students and their teachers on students’ mathematics performance, enhancing and clarifying previous research findings with both theoretical and practical significance. The research also provided valuable information for Vietnamese stakeholders about mathematics learning and teaching in Vietnam.

*Keywords: *mathematics-related beliefs, epistemological beliefs, effort, the usefulness of mathematics, mathematics ability, mathematical problem-solving, self-efficacy, mathematics performance, mathematics education, Vietnam

*Subject: *Education thesis

*Thesis type: *Doctor of Philosophy

*Completed: *2021

*School: *College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

*Supervisor: *Stella Vosniadou