Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Wachira, Patrick

Subject Headings

Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- United States, Academic achievement -- United States, Self-efficacy, Motivation in education -- United States, Mathematics Achievement Mathematics Self-efficacy Motivational Factors Hierachical Linear Modeling


Mathematics performance in the U.S., relative to other developed countries remains unsatisfactory despite the emphasis on teacher training, rigor in teaching, and provision of physical resources, adjustments in curriculum and utilization of modern technology. Psychological aspects such as motivation and self-efficacy, which are known to have significant relationships to academic outcomes, have not been sufficiently and exhaustively studied in relation to mathematics achievement. This study used the Educational Longitudinal Survey of 2002 (ELS-2002) data available from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) to explore the relationship between the students’ psychological attributes and their mathematics achievement. The ELS-2002 was a survey of a nationally representative sample of 16,197 students, their parents, English and mathematics teachers and principals from 1,964 schools. The initial survey was done when students were in 10th grade, with follow-ups in 2004 at 12th grade, and 2006 after graduation. The purpose was to understand the role of motivational attributes in mathematic achievement to advance knowledge on programming intervention. The study revealed that mathematics achievement and mathematics self-efficacy were both significantly dependent on gender, race, and the four motivational dimensions (individual determination, effort and persistence, learner preparedness and extrinsic motivation). The factors accounted for a variance of 34 in mathematics achievement, and 23 in mathematics self-efficacy. A bidirectional relationship between achievement and self-efficacy was confirmed. A two-level hierarchical linear model was used to determine the extents to which school contextual variables can predict students’ mathematics performance and self-efficacy, while controlling for students’ individual characteristics and psychological attributes. The results revealed that school socioeconomic status, school climate, school sponsor (public, Catholic and other privat

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