### Abstract:

The intention of this study was to explore the relationships between Thai
middle school girls' and boys' attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and
mathematics achievement, future mathematics coursework intentions, and career
interests. Participants in this study were 523 students who were enrolled in The
Chiang Mai University Demonstration School during the first semester of the 1999
school year. In order to measure the students' attitudes and beliefs about
mathematics, a questionnaire was developed from the Fennema-Sherman Attitudes
Scale (Mulhern & Rae, 1998) and Indiana Mathematics Beliefs Scale (Kloosterman
& Stage, 1992). Students' mathematics achievement was obtained from their final
mathematics grades at the end of the semester. Students' future mathematics
coursework intentions questionnaire was developed from Throndike-Christ's
(1991) study. Finally, students' career interests questionnaire was rated according
to Goldman and Hewitt's (1976) science/math continuum.
The findings revealed that Thai middle school students had positive
attitudes and beliefs about mathematics. The students had good mathematics
achievement and demonstrated a moderate likelihood to take optional future
mathematics coursework. Many students were interested in careers related to
mathematics and science fields.
Focusing on grade level, those students in higher grades expressed lower
motivation, confidence in learning mathematics, and mathematics achievement. On
the other hand, they showed stronger beliefs about mathematics as a male domain
and the usefulness of mathematics and had stronger interests in careers related to
mathematics and science fields than students in lower grades.
Overall, no gender differences in motivation and confidence in learning
mathematics surfaced. However, gender differences favoring boys were found in
students' beliefs about mathematics as a male domain, the usefulness of
mathematics, the importance of understanding concepts in mathematics, and
increasing mathematical ability by effort. Boys also indicated more willingness to
take optional mathematics coursework and displayed stronger interests in careers
related to mathematics and science fields. The only gender difference favoring girls
was mathematics achievement. The regression findings revealed that attitudes and
beliefs about mathematics variables were predictive of students' mathematics
achievement, future mathematics coursework intentions, and career interests.