The relationships between Thai girls' and boys' attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and mathematics achievement, future mathematics coursework intentions, and career interests Public Deposited

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  • 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.
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