The Structure of Students' Motivational Beliefs in Mathematics and Their Relation to Academic Outcomes

Daria Rovan, Nina Pavlin-Bernardić, Vesna Vlahović-Štetić


The aim of this study was to examine elementary school
students' motivational beliefs related to mathematics
learning, in accordance with the expectancy-value theory. We
wanted to determine the structure of motivational beliefs in
mathematics and to examine to what extent motivational
beliefs are associated with different learning outcomes:
achievement, readiness for further learning of mathematics
and mathematics anxiety. The participants were 387 students
of the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades from two
elementary schools in Zagreb. The instruments we used were
scales for measuring students' expectations and values,
achievement goals and mathematics anxiety. We also
collected basic demographic information about the
participants and data on their past and current achievement
in mathematics, as well as their assessment of readiness to
continue learning mathematics. The results of the
confirmatory factor analysis clearly support the structure of
motivational beliefs in accordance with the expectancy-value
theory. Significant motivational beliefs are expectation of
success and three components of value assessment: interest,
usefulness and importance. Hierarchical regression analyses
showed that, besides achievement goals, expectations and
values are important predictors of mathematics achievement,
even when prior achievement is controlled.


motivation; motivational beliefs; expectations; values; achievement goals

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