Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

A Structural Equation Model Explaining 8th Grade Students' Mathematics Achievements*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

A Structural Equation Model Explaining 8th Grade Students' Mathematics Achievements*

Article excerpt

Today, in a time when extraordinary and rapid developments occur daily and because foundations of daily life are increasingly becoming mathematical, knowing and understanding mathematics have gained considerable importance. In such a changing world, individuals able to understand and use mathematics will have more say in enhancing opportunities and occasions that may shape their future (NCTM, 2000). In this context, understanding and being successful in mathematics have gained further importance.

Individual factors are highly important in mathematics achievement and success (Akyüz, 2014; Özgüven, 2005; Peker, 2005; Usher, 2009). However, not all students are able to exhibit the same level of achievement due to individual factors (NCTM, 2000). Accordingly, it is quite important to ascertain whether students achieve in accordance with their skills or not, to investigate the factors affecting achievement, and to make practical suggestions to teachers and students. When the studies conducted in the relevant literature are examined, many factors are observed to affect mathematics and mathematics achievement. The major factors affecting mathematics and mathematics achievement may be listed as follows: (Üredi & Üredi, 2005), spatial ability (Battista, 1990; Casey, Pezaris, & Nuttall, 1992; Mohler, 2001), problem solving skills (Alci, Erden, & Baykal, 2010; Arsal, 2009; Günhan & Baser, 2008; Özsoy, 2005), reasoning skills (Ball & Bass, 2003; Brodie, Coetzee, & Lauf, 2010; Kilpatrick, Swafford, & Findell, 2011; Yildirim, 2011), school type (Dursun & Dede, 2004; Savas, Tas, & Duru, 2010; Umay, 2003; Weissglass, 2002), learning style (Peker, 2005; Sentürk & Ikikardes, 2011), motivation (Fadlelmula, 2011; Üredi & Üredi, 2005; Yildirim, 2011), self-efficacy (Alci et al., 2010), family income level (Savas et al., 2010), duration of study (Savas et al., 2010), attitude and interest (Demir & Kiliç, 2010; Peker & Mirasyedioglu, 2003; Savas et al., 2010), anxiety (Dursun & Bindak, 2011), and the duration one has attended a university preparation course (Savas et al., 2010). When the factors affecting mathematics achievement are grouped together and then investigated, it is seen that they form a part of the cognitive, motivational, familial, and socio- economic source. It can be said that cognitive and motivational factors, by virtue of their very nature, are not only more flexible in general, but are also more mendable through education than are familial and socio-economic factors. Accordingly, various studies have been conducted in order to ascertain how to increase students' cognitive skills and motivational levels in mathematics (Arsal, 2009; Koç & Bulut, 2002; Küpçü, 2012; Mevarech & Kramarski, 1997; Özsoy, 2007; Sulak, 2005).

Some mathematical factors can also be seen as mathematical skills. It may be necessary to investigate what skills are defined as mathematical skills by various important institutions (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2009; NAEP, 2002; NCTM, 2000; TIMSS (Mullis, Martin, Ruddock, O'Sullivan & Preuschoff, 2012) in order to determine which mathematical skills defined in the relevant literature are of greater importance

When the mathematical skills defined in NCTM (2000), NAEP (2002), TIMSS (Mullis et al., 2012), and MEB's (2009) mathematical teaching programs are examined, it is seen that problem solving and reasoning skills are prominent. Other mathematical skills that have been defined and explained serve as tools in the accurate and effective use of problem solving and reasoning skills. When the studies conducted in the relevant literature on problem solving and reasoning skills are examined, it is understood that there are positive relationships among these skills (Barbey & Barsalou, 2009; Çelik & Özdemir, 2001; Çetin & Ertekin, 2011; Umay, 2003)

Another variable linked to problem solving and reasoning skills which has significant effects on mathematics achievement is spatial thinking ability. …

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