Determining the causal ordering between attitude toward mathematics and achievement in mathematics

Xin Ma, X. U. Jiangmin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the causal ordering (predominance) between attitude toward mathematics and achievement in mathematics in secondary school (grades 7-12). Structural equation models were employed to analyze data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth. Results showed that achievement demonstrated causal predominance over attitude across the entire secondary school. Gender differences in this causal relationship were not found, but elite status in mathematics (measuring whether students took calculus) moderated this causal relationship. We found an imbalanced reciprocal relationship between attitude and achievement across almost entire secondary school for nonelite students, with achievement showing causal predominance over attitude. Such a reciprocal relationship was absent among elite students. When there was a causal relationship between attitude and achievement among those students, achievement always claimed (unidirectional) causal predominance over attitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-281
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Journal of Education
Volume110
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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