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A national assessment of mathematics participation : a survival analysis model for describing students’ academic careers Ma, Xin
Abstract
One of the most striking facts disclosed in national reports is the large number of students who avoid mathematics courses, especially electives. The problem has become a serious public concern because it bears social and individual consequences: (a) a technologically advanced society demands a mathematically literate workforce, yet a large number of students drop out of mathematics; (b) inadequate preparation in mathematics seriously limits future educational and occupational opportunities of individuals. Although research on school and teacher effects has revealed the effects of school structure and policies and teaching practices on mathematics achievement, researchers have paid little attention to the course of students' academic careers. Even the few existing studies are compromised by serious methodological flaws. Researchers, thus, have not been able to provide policymakers with reliable answers to their basic concerns about mathematics participation. This study tackles these problems, employing the sixwave data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY). The primary purposes of this study are (a) to estimate the probability of students' dropping out of mathematics, conditional on psychological and sociological variables, including sex, socioeconomic status (SES), prior mathematics achievement, prior attitude toward mathematics, prior mathematics anxiety, and prior selfesteem, over a fiveyear period from grade 8 to 12, (b) to identify conditions that affect the probability, and (c) to determine whether there are critical transition points, and if so, whether certain factors have stronger effects at these points. Survival analysis is used to overcome the difficulties conventional statistical techniques have in modeling probability Analyses of mathematics participation indicate that (a) students are most likely to drop out of mathematics in grade 12; (b) males are more likely than females to participate in mathematics in grade 12; (c) the effect of SES decreases over grades; (d) prior attitude toward mathematics is as important as prior mathematics achievement, and their effects are almost constant over grades; (e) the longitudinal effect of prior mathematics achievement or prior attitude toward mathematics depends on students' sex and SES. Analyses of participation in advanced mathematics show that (a) students are most likely to drop out of advanced mathematics in grade 12; (b) males are more likely than females to participate in advanced mathematics in grade 12, and sex differences are similar across different levels of SES; (c) there is a male advantage in participation in advanced mathematics even when there is a male disadvantage in SES; (d) SES plays a critical role in the early grades, and socioeconomic differences are similar across different levels of mathematics achievement or attitude toward mathematics; (e) prior attitude toward mathematics has the strongest effect in the later grades, whereas the effect of prior mathematics achievement decreases over grades; (f) the effect of prior mathematics achievement varies across different levels of attitude toward mathematics, and vice versa; (g) the longitudinal effect of prior mathematics achievement or prior attitude toward mathematics depends on students' sex and their initial mathematics achievement and attitude toward mathematics.
Item Metadata
Title 
A national assessment of mathematics participation : a survival analysis model for describing students’ academic careers

Creator  
Publisher 
University of British Columbia

Date Issued 
1996

Description 
One of the most striking facts disclosed in national reports is the large
number of students who avoid mathematics courses, especially electives. The
problem has become a serious public concern because it bears social and
individual consequences: (a) a technologically advanced society demands a
mathematically literate workforce, yet a large number of students drop out of
mathematics; (b) inadequate preparation in mathematics seriously limits
future educational and occupational opportunities of individuals.
Although research on school and teacher effects has revealed the effects
of school structure and policies and teaching practices on mathematics
achievement, researchers have paid little attention to the course of students'
academic careers. Even the few existing studies are compromised by serious
methodological flaws. Researchers, thus, have not been able to provide
policymakers with reliable answers to their basic concerns about mathematics
participation. This study tackles these problems, employing the sixwave data
from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY). The primary
purposes of this study are (a) to estimate the probability of students' dropping
out of mathematics, conditional on psychological and sociological variables,
including sex, socioeconomic status (SES), prior mathematics achievement,
prior attitude toward mathematics, prior mathematics anxiety, and prior selfesteem,
over a fiveyear period from grade 8 to 12, (b) to identify conditions
that affect the probability, and (c) to determine whether there are critical
transition points, and if so, whether certain factors have stronger effects at
these points. Survival analysis is used to overcome the difficulties
conventional statistical techniques have in modeling probability
Analyses of mathematics participation indicate that (a) students are
most likely to drop out of mathematics in grade 12; (b) males are more likely
than females to participate in mathematics in grade 12; (c) the effect of SES
decreases over grades; (d) prior attitude toward mathematics is as important
as prior mathematics achievement, and their effects are almost constant over
grades; (e) the longitudinal effect of prior mathematics achievement or prior
attitude toward mathematics depends on students' sex and SES.
Analyses of participation in advanced mathematics show that (a)
students are most likely to drop out of advanced mathematics in grade 12; (b)
males are more likely than females to participate in advanced mathematics in
grade 12, and sex differences are similar across different levels of SES; (c) there
is a male advantage in participation in advanced mathematics even when
there is a male disadvantage in SES; (d) SES plays a critical role in the early
grades, and socioeconomic differences are similar across different levels of
mathematics achievement or attitude toward mathematics; (e) prior attitude
toward mathematics has the strongest effect in the later grades, whereas the
effect of prior mathematics achievement decreases over grades; (f) the effect of
prior mathematics achievement varies across different levels of attitude
toward mathematics, and vice versa; (g) the longitudinal effect of prior
mathematics achievement or prior attitude toward mathematics depends on
students' sex and their initial mathematics achievement and attitude toward
mathematics.

Extent 
8897025 bytes

Genre  
Type  
File Format 
application/pdf

Language 
eng

Date Available 
20090331

Provider 
Vancouver : University of British Columbia Library

Rights 
For noncommercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.

DOI 
10.14288/1.0054817

URI  
Degree  
Program  
Affiliation  
Degree Grantor 
University of British Columbia

Graduation Date 
199705

Campus  
Scholarly Level 
Graduate

Aggregated Source Repository 
DSpace

Item Media
Item Citations and Data
Rights
For noncommercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.