Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Teaching Practices and Student Motivation That Influence Student Achievement on Large-Scale Assessments

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Teaching Practices and Student Motivation That Influence Student Achievement on Large-Scale Assessments

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of teaching practices and student motivation on student achievement in mathematics. Two principal component analyses (PCA) were conducted. The first PCA was conducted to cluster 22 items related to teaching practices, in which the items were selected from a teacher questionnaire. The second PCA was conducted to cluster 11 items related to student motivation, in which the items were selected from a student questionnaire. Results from the first PCA revealed that the extraction of four components was found to be related to several frameworks found in the literature on teaching strategies. For the second PCA, two components were extracted which were related to student motivation. These extracted components were then used as two sets of independent variables in a hierarchical regression analysis in order to study their impact on student achievement in mathematics. The study revealed that four teaching practice components and the two student motivation components were significantly related to student academic achievement in mathematics on the large-scale assessment.

Keywords: teaching practices; student motivation; student achievement; mathematics teaching; large-scale assessment

1.Introduction

One particular issue related to large-scale assessments is student motivation (Roderick & Engel, 2001). When students are motivated to provide optimal performance during large-scale assessments, their estimated abilities more closely reflect their true abilities. Teachers, however, have reported that students are not necessarily motivated to provide optimal performance during large-scale assessments (van Barneveld, King, Simon, & Nadon, 2010). Student motivation to achieve on large-scale assessments may be an indication of overall willingness to achieve at school. Among a variety of school-related factors, teaching practices, particularly those centered on the learner, have been shown to impact student motivation whether in the classroom or during large-scale assessments (Kelley, Heneman, & Milanowski, 2000; McCombs & Whisler, 1997; Ryan, Ryan, Arbuthnot, & Samuels, 2007) and education reforms often aim to adopt the most promising, evidence-based teaching practices that can motivate students.

If teaching practices have influence on student motivation, which is a mediating factor on achievement, it follows then that educational leaders should be interested in regularly investigating current teaching approaches and their relationship with motivation and achievement on large-scale assessments. One way to accomplish this is by asking relevant questions on the teacher questionnaires. Although many of the international large-scale assessments already question teachers on such practices, their framework may not necessarily be grounded in the literature or may not have been updated to consider many of the reforms that have been proposed in the last twenty years, particularly in the field of Mathematics.

The purpose of this study was twofold. The first purpose was to provide empirical evidence on the relationship among teacher practices, student motivation, and student achievement on a large-scale assessment in Grade 9 Mathematics. The second purpose was to examine the extent to which teaching practices, found in the literature and surveyed in a teacher questionnaire, aligned with those said to motivate students and improve their learning outcomes in mathematics. The two research questions that guided the study were:

1)To what extent does student motivation, inferred from the student background questionnaire, predict student achievement on a large-scale assessment of mathematics?

2)Do teaching practices, as reported in the teacher questionnaire, make a significant contribution to the student achievement over and above the contribution from student motivation?

2.Literature Review

In order to better understand the complex relationship among the concepts of teaching practices, student motivation and student achievement in the context of current large-scale assessments in Mathematics, we review the literature on student motivation, particularly from the expectancy-value theory, on learner-centered teaching practices, on reforms in Mathematics education, and on the relationship among these variables. …

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