Determination of Self-Efficacy Beliefs of High School Students towards Math Literacy

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine the high school students' self-efficacy beliefs about math literacy, and examine this beliefs in terms of some variables. The research was conducted on 712 high school students. A questionnaire and Math Literacy Self-Efficacy Scale were used for data collection. The data were analyzed in terms of t-test, one way anova and multiple regression analysis. According to the result of the study: it was determined that there were significant differences in math literacy self-efficacy in terms of gender, school type, class level, math degree, parents' educational status and the importance given to math classes. On the other hand, it was found that, math achievement and importance given to math classes variables were significant predictor of the math literacy self-efficacy. The findings were discussed in the light of related literature.

Key Words

Math Literacy, Self-Efficacy Belief, High School Students.

It can be seen that literacy concept is emphasized directly or indirectly, when the aims and goals of the training programs of today's education system is examined. Reading, writing, speaking and listening skills come first as the main elements of literacy. Changes have been unavoidable in the approach of raising the targeted individual according to the variable conditions of today's world. In the transition process from industry-production age to information-technology age, a literate individual is expected to have superior cognitive skills such as communication, judgment, problem solving, decision making beyond basic skills and to use them effectively in his/her life. In the PISA studies made by OECD, a new approach to literacy is being brought. Literacy is discussed to make students use the information and skills learned from basic lessons in necessary place and time, to analyze and judge the problems in different situations, and to use the obtained results in an efficient way (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD], 2003, p. 24). This change in the literacy concept has spread to many areas and some literacy types have been discussed and researched.

Math literacy (ML) concept has been created after the improvements in mathematics as a result of the changes in today's life conditions and qualifications expected from individuals. The need and the importance of competence in the mathematical content, process and situations faced in the daily lives, job-education lives of individuals can be seen as the point of origin of ML. According to Edge (2009), one has to be math literate in order to be functional in an optimal level. Besides, it has been stated that ML is a must for students in order to comply with the innovations (Pugalee & Chamblee, 1999). The ML concept has sometimes been defined as compared with mathematical efficacy, mathematical power, spatial and numeric literacy (Steen, 1999; De Lange, 2001; Kilpatrick, 2001). Whatever it is named, any individual has to have mathematical skills and abilities beyond pure mathematical content (Lengnink, 2005, p. 247).

Even if ML has not been fully described in the published standards of National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM] (1989; 2000) for school mathematics, its importance has been accepted and emphasized. The importance of ML is mentioned in today's Turkey mathematics curriculum (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2005). According to NCTM (1989, p. 5), individual's use of different mathematical methods in solving non-ordinary problems shows his discovering, estimating and logical judgment skills. The catchword "math for everyone" of NCTM (2000, p. 13) has played an important role in making ML more important. Romberg (2001, p. 8) bases the meaning of being math literate on the vision of NCTM. In order to make math literacy valid and possible significant mathematical information and skills are necessary. This concept will not be considered as only reading- writing and numerical transactions. …