Content uploaded by Mutodi Paul

Author content

All content in this area was uploaded by Mutodi Paul on Dec 29, 2017

Content may be subject to copyright.

Available via license: CC BY-NC

Content may be subject to copyright.

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

431

The Influence of Students` Perceptions on Mathematics Performance.

A Case of a Selected High School in South Africa

Paul Mutodi

Department of Maths, Science and Technology, University of Limpopo (Turfloop Campus)

E-mail: paul.mutodi@ul.ac.za

Hlanganipai Ngirande

Department of Business Management, University of Limpopo (Turfloop Campus)

E-mail: hlanganipai.ngirande@ul.ac.za

Doi:10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n3p431

Abstract

This study investigates the influence of students’ perceptions on mathematics performance at a selected South African

secondary school. The influence of factors such as strength and weaknesses in mathematics, teacher support/learning

material, family background and support, interest in mathematics, difficulties or challenges in doing mathematics, self-

confidence and myths and beliefs about mathematics were identified as constructs of perceptions that influence students’

performance. Five of the seven constructs were found to be influential on students’ performance in mathematics. Quantitative

methods were used to analyse the data collected from a questionnaire which was administered to randomly selected

secondary school students (n=124) in Polokwane, South Africa. From the regression analysis of the data, the following

hierarchy of themes emerged as components of students’ perceptions of mathematics. These were (i) weaknesses in

mathematics (ii) family background and support, (iii) interests in mathematics, (iv) self-confidence in mathematics, (v) myths

and beliefs about mathematics (vi) teacher /learning material support, (vii) difficulties in learning mathematics. Results from t-

tests, Anova and suggest that there were significant differences in the perceptions and beliefs about mathematics between

males and females, between mature and juvenile students and among students from different language backgrounds

respectively. Correlation analysis results showed strong positive relationships between performance and perception constructs

such as self-confidence, interests in mathematics, teacher and learning support material as well as myths and beliefs .The

respondents tend to view lack of proficiency in mathematics as a challenge, and attribute success in mathematics to effort and

perseverance. Students also perceive difficulty in mathematics as an obstacle, and attribute failure to their own lack of

inherited mathematical ability. These findings suggest that differences in (i) myths and beliefs about mathematics success, ( (ii)

motivation given by mathematics teachers and parents, (iii) mathematics teachers' teaching styles and learning materials and

(iv) self confidence in mathematics may lead to differences in perceptions about mathematics. These in turn may lead to

differences in attitudes towards mathematics and learning mathematics which have a bearing on performance.

Keywords: Perceptions, Mathematics Achievement, Attitudes, Beliefs, secondary school students

1. Introduction

This study explores the influence of students’ perceptions on mathematics achievement at a selected secondary school

in Polokwane, South Africa. Seven perceptual variables which influence students’ achievement were identified.

Mathematical perceptions considered for this study include individual constructs that are generated by individual

experiences (student characteristics), home and societal context of the student and those emanating from classroom

experiences (Hannula, 2007). Studies generally have found boys to hold a more positive attitude towards mathematics

(e.g. Kaasila, Hannula, Laine & Pehkonen, 2006). In this study, the term ‘perceptions of mathematics’ is conceptualised

as a mental representation or view of mathematics, apparently constructed as a result of social experiences, mediated

through interactions at school, or the influence of parents, teachers, peers or mass media. It also refers to some kind of

mental representation of something, originated from past experience as well as associated beliefs, attitudes and

conceptions. There are several studies that focus on investigating the perceptions that students have about mathematics

itself (Picker & Berry, 2000; Rensaa 2006; Aguilar, 2012; Moreau, Mendick & Epstein, 2010). Despite this large body of

research, there is a lack of research on views and beliefs held by South Africa secondary school students.

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

432

In South Africa mathematics is a perceived as a difficult subject, accessible only to the few. Adults frequently claim

dislike or incompetence towards the subject, while many students choose not to pursue mathematics post-compulsory

education. Recent studies (e.g. Sterling, 2004, de Villiers, 2010) indicate that there is a critical shortage of people

qualified in mathematics in South Africa. Mathematics achievement in South Africa is abnormally poor (Spaull, 2012). In

addition; there is the recent decline in recruitment into higher education courses in mathematics, science, technology and

engineering noted in South Africa where negative views of mathematics (and science) are often cited as contributory

factors(Fry,2006).Many theories have been advocated to explain the overall poor performance at all grade levels.

Students who perform well in mathematics are treated as “nerds”. Many people generally dislike mathematics. It is seen

as a subject reserved for the selected few. It often evokes feelings of stress; anxiety and fear (Atallah, Bryant and Dada,

2009). Furthermore, it is seen as a filter that hinders students from pursuing their career aspirations mathematics and

science –related fields (Fisher, 2008).

Perceptions and beliefs about mathematics originate from past experiences; comprising both cognitive and

affective dimensions Aguilar, Rosas and Juan Zavaleta (2012). From a cognitive point of view it relates to a person’s

knowledge, beliefs, and other cognitive representations while from an affective domain it refers to a person’s attitudes,

feelings and emotions about mathematics. The term is also understood broadly to include all visual, verbal

representations, metaphorical images and associations, beliefs, attitudes and feelings related to mathematics and

mathematics learning experiences. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to explore and identify the range of

perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics as it is perceived by the secondary school students.

It is widely claimed that, negative perceptions and myths of mathematics are widespread among the students,

especially in the developed countries (e.g., Mtetwa & Garofalo, 1989; Ernest, 1996; & Gadanidis, 2012). Sam (2002)

claimed that many students are scared of mathematics and feel powerless in the presence of mathematical ideas. They

regarded Mathematics as "difficult, cold, abstract, and in many cultures, largely masculine" (Ernest, 1996, p.802). Buxton,

cited by Sam (2002) viewed mathematics as "fixed, immutable, external, intractable and uncreative" or "a timed-

test"(p.115). Even scientists and engineers whose jobs are related to mathematics "often harbour an image of

mathematics as a well-stocked warehouse from which to select ready-to-use formulae, theorems, and results to advance

their own theories"(Peterson, 1996).

Educators attempt to explain this phenomenon through the widespread beliefs or mathematical myths that

"learning mathematics is a question more of ability than effort"(McLeod, 1992, p.575) or "there is an inherent natural

ability for mathematics"(Fitz Simons et al., 1996, p. 768). Many people hold the view that mathematics is only for the

clever ones, or only for those who have 'inherited mathematical ability'. Another widely held belief is that mathematics is

a male dominant subject. One other stereotyped image is that boys are better in mathematics than girls (Ernest, 2001).

Thus, many adults accept this lack of accomplishment in mathematics as a permanent state over which they have little

control. Parents and significance others have a strong influence on students’ beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics

(McLeod, 1989). Students’ mathematics learning outcomes are strongly related to their beliefs and attitudes towards

mathematics (Furinghetti & Pehkonen, 2000; Leder, Pehkonen, & Törner, 2002; Pehkonen, 2003). According Sam (2002)

parents’ views about mathematics have strong effect on the way they teach their children. This often creates tension

between the parents and teachers if they share contrasting images of mathematics.

One origin of different student perceptions is the individual life histories that each student brings to mathematics

learning. These life histories influence the way the students position themselves in the classroom, the way they engage

with mathematics, teacher and peers and the way they interpret mathematical experiences. On the other hand, there are

contextual factors that students of the same class share with each other. These are, for example, the personality of the

teacher, quality of teaching and learning support material, interests in mathematics, self –confidence and general

proficiency in the subject. These influence all students in a class and are the origin of shared experiences. Moreover,

also students’ individual experiences are partly shaped by the shared events in the classroom. This is illustrated with an

arrow from classroom context to individual experiences.

2. Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are:

1. To identify the range of student's perceptions towards mathematics held by South African students.

2. To examine whether there is a relationship between the identified perception constructs and student

performance in mathematics.

3. To examine whether gender, age and language background have an effect on the way students perceive

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

433

mathematics and how these perceptions influence performance.

4. To give recommendations to authorities on strategies that can be employed to enhance positive perceptions

towards mathematics.

3. Research Questions of the Study

The research question that guides this study is:

1. Which of the identified perception constructs have a direct influence on students’ performance?

4. Research Hypotheses

H1: There is a significant relationship between students’ perceptions and mathematics performance.

H2: There is a significant difference between the perceptions of male and female students towards mathematics

performance

5. Significance of the Study

By examining the different images, attitudes, belief and myths of mathematics that students hold, there is a potential for

such images, attitudes, beliefs to be challenged, promoted or discouraged. The information obtained will enhance better

strategies and measures for promoting student understanding and participation in mathematics related fields. The results

of this study might inform the extent of the influences of parents and teachers in shaping students' perceptions of

mathematics. This information can be used to promote positive influence while attempting to avoid the negative

influences of these sources. It will help to understand better the roles of parents and teachers in the shaping of students'

images of mathematics. The findings will reflect possible implication for mathematics education and mathematics teacher

education. Knowing how students perceive mathematics learning experiences in school and how this could influence

their images of mathematics will help us to understand better how mathematics should be presented in the classroom.

This knowledge may also help to enhance better curriculum planning and teacher development programmes. Students’

views of mathematics are important as they can shape the way in which they learn mathematics. Such views and

perceptions may have more influence than knowledge in determining how individuals organise and define tasks.

Perceptions of what mathematics is and is not, may affect attitudes, performance, confidence and perceived usefulness

of mathematics.

6. Literature Review and Theoretical Orientations

To find a well-developed, well-defined theoretical framework in the study of beliefs and attitudes is a challenge and the

endeavour to develop one coherent framework for this area has been unfruitful for many researchers. According to

Hannula (2004) there are on-going debates on the theoretical frameworks used in the conceptualisation of affect in

mathematics education. Currently there is no precise, shared language for describing the affective domain, within a

theoretical framework that permits its systematic study. Thus, this study is guided by different notions and discusses the

relationship between their conceptions. The constructs, beliefs and attitudes, images, views, perspectives and opinions

are not directly observable and have to be inferred, and because of their closeness it is problematic to have a common

definition of these notions (Leder & Forgasz, 2002). Efforts by researchers to isolate these concepts yield no acceptable

results. Kislenko, Grevholm, and Lepik (2005) explained the interplay among thinking, feeling, opinions, beliefs, views

and perspectives. They argued that beliefs are a part of persons’ knowledge that is highly subjective and on the other

hand the conceptions feelings and beliefs are often overlapping and cannot be distinguished. Some researchers consider

beliefs to be part of knowledge (e.g. Furinghetti, 2003; Renzi, 2005, Brown, 2006), some think beliefs are part of attitudes

(e.g. Pehkonen and Pietilä, 2004), and some consider them as part of conceptions (e.g. Thompson, 1992).

Ignacio, Nieto and Barona (2006) used the term mathematics self-concept to refer to personal beliefs relating to

the world of mathematics, what is to the set of ideas, judgements, beliefs, and attributions that the person has steadily

built up during his or her process of learning in the school environment. Personal beliefs affect the person’s interest in

mathematics, efficiency in performing mathematics tasks, motivation and pleasure with mathematics, attribution of

causes to academic success or failure, and self-concept as belonging to a certain social group. Hannula (2006) pointed

out that a mathematics learner’s liking or disliking of mathematics derives from his/her belief structure. People’s beliefs

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

434

and attitudes towards mathematics are shaped by individual personal characteristics and experiences related to their

academic self-image. An individual’s view of mathematics is a compound of knowledge, beliefs, conceptions, attitudes,

and feelings. Literature suggests that attitudes and beliefs are interlinked. Kayander and Lovric (2005) claims that

attitudes may influence the formation of new beliefs.

Beliefs might be thought of as lenses through which one looks when interpreting the world (Philipp, 2006).

Research shows that the beliefs and feelings adults experienced as learners carry forward to their adult lives, and these

feelings are important factors in the ways they relate to the new generation of learners. There is a lack of interest in

mathematics or a relatively higher tendency of mathematics avoidance among many of the South African students. Most

students hold the belief or myth that being good in mathematics is mainly due to ability than effort (McLeod, 1992). Many

students admit this lack of achievement in mathematics as a permanent state over which they have little control.

According to Tobias (2003), millions of adults are blocked from professional and personal opportunities because they

fear or perform poorly in mathematics, for many these negative experiences remain throughout their lives.

Moscucci (2008) discussed 'a meta-belief systems activity' on the basis of learning experimentation, where the

importance of making learners aware of their belief systems regarding mathematics became apparent. Many of a

teacher’s beliefs and views seem to originate in and be shaped by experiences” (Thompson, 1992, p. 139).Pajares

asserts that whereas beliefs that are formed from experiences appear to be more resistant, “learning and inquiries are

dependent on prior beliefs”.

There is need for teachers to learn about their students from the students themselves. Pedagogy that is intended

to improve students’ academic achievement needs to be informed by the students themselves. Insight into the

perceptions of the learners with regard to their mathematical experiences can prove beneficial in developing effective

pedagogy for improved mathematics achievement. South African students, in particular, are in need of effective

pedagogy that will improve their school mathematics performance. The purpose of this study is to provide insights into

the perceptions of South African students with respect to their experiences inside and outside classrooms, with or without

their teachers. Implications of these perceptions may inform pedagogical considerations in improving the mathematics

achievement of South African tertiary students.

The conceptions, attitudes, and expectations of the students regarding mathematics and mathematics teaching

have been considered to be very significant factor underlying their school experience and achievement (Borasi, 1990;

Schoenfeld, 2008). These conceptions determine the way students approach mathematics tasks, in many cases leading

them into non-productive paths. Students have been found to hold a strong procedural and rule- oriented view of

mathematics and to assume that mathematical questions should be quickly solvable in just a few steps, the goal just

being to get “right answers”. For them, the role of the student is to receive mathematical knowledge and to be able to

demonstrate so; the role of the teacher is to transmit this knowledge and to ascertain that students acquired it (Borasi,

1990). Such conceptions may prevent the students from understanding that there are alternative strategies and

approaches to many mathematical problems, different ways of defining concepts, and even different constructions due to

different starting points. They may approach the tasks in the mathematical class with a very narrow frame of mind that

keeps them from developing personal methods and build confidence in dealing with mathematical ideas.

Crawford et al. (1993) found that the majority of students perceived mathematics as “numbers, rules and formulae”

(p. 213). For some students awareness of mathematics involves simply the recall of facts and the use of formal

procedures. These views were associated with what he calls a “surface approach” to learning mathematics, that is, “the

reproduction of knowledge and procedures”( p. 212). Research revealed that many students relate mathematics mainly

with computations (Iddo & Ginsburg, 1994). Many students tend to identify mathematics with arithmetic. Doing

mathematics is normally associated with calculations. It is widely maintained in the literature that negative images and

myths of mathematics are widespread among the students. Many students view mathematics as a difficult, cold and

abstract subject. It is perceived by many students as an exclusive discipline Buhagiar (2013). From epistemological and

pedagogical perspectives, it is perceived as a subject that involves a lot of work. The subject is seen as an obstacle,

often dreaded and as hard work. Mathematics is also viewed as a static and objective discipline, available for discovery

by mathematicians, in turn to be transmitted by teachers and received by the students.

Many students seem to concentrate on computations as the essence of mathematics. Many believe that

mathematical activity includes procedures that are divorced from real life, from discovery and from problem solving. The

fact that mathematics is usually presented as a body of absolute truths which exists independently of the learners and

taught in a hierarchical, linear and prescriptive fashion reinforces the view that mathematics is a difficult subject. There is

also a claim that mathematics is only for the clever ones, or only for those who have inherited mathematical ability

(Kimball & Smith, 2013). Being mathematically knowledgeable is often treated as an indicator of general intelligence, as

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

435

evidenced by the widespread use of mathematics in entrance tests. This view causes many people to believe that

learning mathematics is a question of ability rather than effort and that there is an inherent natural ability for mathematics.

This perception leads students to accept their lack of accomplishment in mathematics as a permanent state over which

they have little control.

Figure 1: Mathematical Perceptions development model

7. Methodology

A quantitative research approach was used. The researchers used a quantitative approach because, as noted by

Kabungaidze, Mahlatsana and Ngirande (2013), quantitative research design allows the researcher to answer questions

about the relationships between measured variables with the purpose of explaining, predicting and controlling certain

phenomena. The study population consisted of both male and female grade 10 students from a selected high school in

Limpopo province of South Africa. The total size of the population was 150(N=150). Using the RaoSoft sample size

calculator, a minimum recommended sample size of 124 respondents was obtained. The respondents were selected

using a simple random sampling method.

A 57-item self-administered questionnaire divided into seven categories of perceptions was designed using

existing instruments as well as information which emerged from the literature. The questionnaire consisted of three

sections, namely the Biographical and occupational data questionnaire, the perceptions section and the performance

section. The biographical and occupational data questionnaire was constructed by the researchers to tap information

relating to certain key biographical and occupational variables relating to the respondents such as gender, age and

home. This information was used mainly for a description of the sample.

Perceptions and performance variables were identified from literature and a 5-point likert scale was designed by

the researchers. Responses to each of the items were rated with anchors labelled: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3

= neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, 5= strongly agree. The reliability was tested using the Cronbach Alpha

coefficient and a coefficient of 0.910 was achieved, hence the reliability of the instrument can be accepted based on

Cooper and Schindler (2008)’s argument that any coefficient above 0.70 implies reliability of the instrument. The

Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for the sub-categories of the identified perceptions were also calculated and the results are

shown in the table 1 below.

Table 1: Reliability Statistics

Description Cronbach's Alpha Number of items

Mathematics Performance .695 4

Strength and weaknesses in mathematics .699 4

Teacher /learning material support .868 10

Family background and support .701 4

Interests in mathematics .713 8

Difficulties or challenges in learning mathematics .738 8

Self confidence inmathematics .648 9

Myths and beliefs about mathematics .789 10

Overall Questionnaire reliability .910 57

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

436

To observe content validity, the questionnaire was adopted and structured so that the questions posed were clearly

articulated and directed. All statements were formulated to eliminate the possibility of misinterpretations. This was

followed by a pre-tested administered to 87 students who were excluded from the participants in the main study. The

identified amendments were made to ensure the simplicity and clarity of some questions, making it fully understandable

to the participants (Masitsa, 2011).

In administering the questionnaire, the following procedure was followed:

• The researchers personally requested the school principal permission to distribute the copies of the

questionnaire. Questionnaire distribution was done in such a way as to cause no disturbance to student’s

classes.

• The researchers distributed the questionnaire to the respondents during breaks (e.g. lunch time) and also ask

the respondents to deposit completed questionnaires in a locked box located in the school administration

building where they will be collected after three days. A covering letter assuring the prospective respondents

of anonymity and confidentiality was accompanying the questionnaire. This covering letter also informs the

prospective respondent what the study was about and ask him/her to respond to the questionnaire voluntarily.

The returned questionnaires were inspected to determine their level of acceptability. They were coded. The data

was transferred to an Excel sheet. A statistical computer package, Statistics Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version

20.0, was used to process the results. Descriptive statistics (e.g. means and standard deviations) were used to describe

the data in summary form. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was used to measure the relationships

between the variables (i.e. myths and beliefs, strengths and weaknesses in mathematics, self confidence in

mathematics, family background and support as well as interests in mathematics) and the dependent variable

(mathematics proficiency). Standard multiple regression analysis was also carried out to assess the relative contribution

of the independent variables to the variability of the dependent variable. To test the demographic mean differences,

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and t-test were used.

8. Results

8.1 Response rate

A follow up of the questionnaires showed a good response rate from the research participants. At the end of the data

collection phase, the total number of the completed questionnaires was 124. Given that the sample size of the study was

150, this represented a response rate of 82.7%. Many observers presumed that higher response rates assure more

accurate survey results (Holbrook, Krosnick, & Pfent, 2008). Response rates (60 - 70%) are considered as ideal for this

type of study (Babbie, 2013).

8.2 Subjects

The sample consisted of 124 secondary school students. Table 1 presents demographical data of the study sample.

Table 2: Demographic variables

Variable Frequency Percentages

Gende

r

Male 51 41

Female 73 59

Age

16-20 years 78 63

21 years and above 46 37

Home language

Sepedi 90 72.5

Shangane 64.8

Venda 13 10.5

Swati 10 8.1

Othe

r

5 4.1

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

437

Demographic data about the respondents shows that 73 (59%) were females and 51(41%) were males. The majority

78(63%) of the participants were in the 16-20 years category. Sepedi dominated the home languages 90(72.5%) while

Venda 13(10.5%) was also notable. The other languages were insignificantly represented. The school is dominated

Sepedi speaking students.

8.3 Perception constructs Summary descriptive statistics

Data collected were analysed in an effort to explore the perceptions of students regarding mathematics. In particular, the

identified perceptions focused on eight (8) constructs: (i) mathematics performance, (ii) difficulties or challenges in

learning mathematics, (iii) myths and beliefs about mathematics, (iv) family background and support, (v) self confidence

in mathematics, (vi) teacher /learning material support, (vii) interests in mathematics, (viii) weaknesses in mathematics.

Table 3: Summary descriptive statistics

Item Description Mean Std. Deviation Rank

1 Mathematics Performance 3.5181 1.4993 1

2 Difficulties in learning mathematics 3.1431 .56863 2

3 Myths and Beliefs about mathematics 3.1379 . 4657 3

4 Family background and Support. 3.1126 .61158 4

5 Self confidence in mathematics 3.0789 .524595 5

6 Teacher /Learning material support 3.0570 .5755 6

7 Interests mathematics 2.9969 .61989 7

8 Weaknesses in Mathematics 2.8347 .74687 8

The overall mean for each construct were analysed and are shown in table 3 above. The results showed that students

perceive mathematics proficiency (overall mean (M) =3.5181, with a standard deviation (SD =1.4993) as the main

contributing factor to their success in Mathematics. Students perceive that it is worthwhile for one to ask himself/herself:

“What does he wants us to do? They also confirmed that the more the time spend studying mathematics the better the

results in tests and assignments. They also revealed the contributions of effort and endurance when solving a problem,

usually lead to correct results. To solve math problems accurately and efficiently, students confirmed that one needs to

develop flexibility and to learn multiple strategies.

Difficulties in learning mathematics were also perceived as another form obstacle that affects some sections of

students. Difficulty in learning mathematics also presents itself as a difficulty in applying formulae, using measurements,

writing out phases of calculations, writing numbers, and spatial perception. Students who struggle with mathematics

perceive that the amount of material in any mathematics is so overwhelming making it difficult to absorb. Students also

perceive mathematics as a huddle one has to cross in order to progress to the next grade level. Students also indicated

their academic progress is hampered by low scores in mathematics even if they are performing well in other subjects.

Myths and Beliefs about mathematics were also ranked highly (mean=3.1379, SD=. 4657) in terms of its

contribution to students’ liking and disliking of mathematics. Myths in relation to gender and maths are not the only ones

that have the potential to have a negative impact on students’ learning in maths. Maths is valued because it is considered

by the community to be an indicator of intelligence. Students’ feelings of lack of control could stem from the idea that

maths is “difficult” or that you have to have a “maths brain” in order to succeed in the subject. Feelings of lack of control

can be due to cultural norms, such as negative stereotypes about image and gender. Women are often too ready to

admit inadequacy and say, "I just can't do math.". The idea that math ability is mostly genetic is one dark facet of a larger

fallacy that intelligence is mostly genetic. The results revealed that student’ beliefs about what mathematics is and what it

is not has an effect on their overall performance.

Weaknesses in mathematics was least ranked (mean=2.8347 and SD =0 .74687). Thus most students do not

perceive that their weaknesses or strength in tackling mathematics problems has an effect on their performance.

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

438

Table 4: Gender and Age mean differences

One-Sample Test

Test Value = 0

t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Lower Upper

Gende

r

31.809 123 .000 1.4113 1.323 1.499

Age 77.393 123 .000 3.3710 3.285 3.457

A t-test was conducted to test whether there was a significant difference between male and female students’

mathematics perceptions. It must be recalled that the study hypothesised that there is a significant difference between

male and female students’ mathematics perceptions. The results for the test are shown in table 4 above (df = 123, t =

31.809, p=0.00). The null hypothesis was rejected since the p-value is less than 0.05. Therefore we conclude that there

is a significant difference in the way mathematics is perceived between males and females. This is consistent with

findings by Hoang (2008) who showed that male consistently reported slightly more positive perceptions and attitudes

than females. However a research carried out by Mohamed and Waheed (2011) showed that the students’ positive

attitude towards mathematics is medium and there is no gender difference in their attitudes.

A t-test was also conducted to test whether there was a significant difference in views and attitudes towards

mathematics between the two age cohorts of students. The results for the test are shown in table 4 above (df=123, t

=77.393, p=0.00). The null hypothesis was rejected since the p-value is less than 0.05. Therefore we conclude that there

is a significant difference in views and attitudes towards mathematics between the two age cohorts of students.

To test if there are significant differences in perceptions among students from different language backgrounds, an

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was conducted to test the following hypothesis.

H0 : There is no significant difference in math perceptions among students from different language backgrounds.

H1 : There is a significant difference in math perceptions among students from different language backgrounds.

The results of the test in table 6 below show that (df = 1, df =122, F= 0.160, p=0.690).Therefore, we do not reject

the null hypothesis since p>0.05 and conclude that there are no significant differences in mathematics perceptions

among students from different language backgrounds.

Table 6: ANOVA (Home language and perception mean differences)

Sum of Squares d

f

Mean Square F Sig.

Home language

Between Groups .427 1.427 .160 .690

Within Groups 325.444 122 2.668

Total 325.871 123

Mathematics performance Between Groups .087 1.087 .154 .696

Within Groups 68.810 122 .564

Total 68.897 123

Weaknesses in mathematics Between Groups .514 1.514 .920 .339

Within Groups 68.097 122 .558

Total 68.611 123

Teacher /learning material support Between Groups .148 1.148 .443 .507

Within Groups 40.596 122 .333

Total 40.743 123

Family support Between Groups .159 1.159 .423 .517

Within Groups 45.848 122 .376

Total 46.007 123

Interests in mathematics

Between Groups .288 1.288 .749 .388

Within Groups 46.976 122 .385

Total 47.264 123

Difficulties in mathematics Between Groups .007 1.007 .025 .875

Within Groups 32.380 122 .265

Total 32.387 123

Myths and beliefs

Between Groups .098 1.098 .448 .504

Within Groups 26.578 122 .218

Total 26.676 123

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

439

Further tests on the different constructs identified showed that there are no perception differences as all the p-values are

all greater than 0.05.This means that there are no significant differences in the ways students perceive weaknesses in

mathematics, teacher support/learning material, family background and support, interests in mathematics, difficulties in

doing mathematics, self-confidence and myths and beliefs about mathematics. The seven constructs seem to have the

same contribution to the students’ performance.

Table 7: Correlation Analysis: The strength and direction of the relationship between independent variables (myths and

beliefs, weaknesses in mathematics, self confidence in mathematics, family background and support as well as interests

in mathematics) and the dependent variable (mathematics performance)

Correlations

Maths

performance Weaknesses in

mathematics Teacher /learning

material support Family

support Interests in

mathematics

Difficulties in

mathematics Self

confidence Myths and

beliefs

Mathematics

performance

Pearson

Correlation 1.000 .407** .756** .652** .797** .688** .826** .713**

Sig. (2-

tailed) . .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Weaknesses in

mathematics

Pearson

Correlation .407** 1.000 .792** .607** .732** .771** .485** .541**

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 . .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Teacher /learning

material support

Pearson

Correlation .756** .792** 1.000 .794** .906** .782** .741** .725**

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 .000 . .000 .000 .000 .000 .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Family support

Pearson

Correlation .652** .607** .794** 1.000 .722** .589** .685** .582**

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 .000 .000 . .000 .000 .000 .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Interests in

mathematics

Pearson

Correlation .797** .732** .906** .722** 1.000 .720** .713** .725**

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 . .000 .000 .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Difficulties in

mathematics

Pearson

Correlation .688** .771** .782** .589** .720** 1.000 .743** .776**

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 . .000 .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Self confidence

Pearson

Correlation .826** .485** .741** .685** .713** .743** 1.000 .590**

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 . .000

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

Myths and beliefs

Pearson

Correlation .713** .541** .725** .582** .725** .776** .590** 1.000

Sig. (2-

tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .

N 124 124 124 124 124 124 124 124

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Pearson Correlation analysis was used to determine the strength and direction of the relationships. Correlation is a

technique for investigating the relationship between two quantitative variables, for example, teacher/learning support

material and mathematics performance. Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) is a measure of the strength of the

association between the two variables. Table 3 shows that there is a weak positive relationship between weaknesses in

mathematics and mathematics performance (r=0.407, p=0.000). This means that the more the challenges a student

encounters in mathematics, the less the performance. The results are compatible with Zacharia and Barton ( 2004)

findings which revealed that a student’s weaknesses in mathematics have a negative effect on performance.

The results of the study also yields a statistically significant positive correlations with teacher /learning material

support and mathematics performance (r=0.756, p=0.000). This means that the more a student gets enough support

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

440

from his/her teacher, the more he/she is likely to become more proficient in mathematics. These findings are consistent

with Hammond (2000) who indicates that measures of teacher quality and support strongly correlates with student

achievement in mathematics.

Family background and support showed statistically significant positive correlations with mathematics

performance (r=0.652; p=0.000); interests in mathematics and mathematics performance (r=0.797, p=0.000) meaning

the more a student is interested in mathematics, the more chances of becoming proficient in the subject. In supported of

these findings, Kupari & Nissinen (2013) in their study concluded that students’ mathematics achievement is positively

correlated to family background and support.

Self-confidence showed statistically significant positive correlations with mathematics performance (r=0.826,

p=0.000). Chick & Vincent (2005) found self-confidence to be positively correlated to achievement, with highly self-

regulated students being more motivated to use planning, organizational, and self-monitoring strategies to achieve good

performance in mathematics.

Statistically significant positive correlations were also found between difficulties in mathematics, myths and beliefs

and performance (r=0.688, p=0.000); (r=0.713, p =0.000) respectively. Kane and Mertz (2012) also revealed that myths

and beliefs about mathematics have a strong influence on student performance.

It will be recalled that the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between student`s perceptions

and mathematics performance and it was hypothesized that there is a significant positive relationship between students’

perceptions and mathematics performance. Since the p-values of all the relationships in table 3 are less than 0.05, it

therefore means that we reject the null hypothesis and conclude that there is a significant positive relationship between

students’ perceptions and mathematics performance.

Table 8: Regression Analysis

Model Summaryb

Model R R Square Adjusted R

Square Std. Error of the

Estimate

Change Statistics Durbin-

Watson

R Square

Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F

Change

1 .925a .856 .850 .28957 .856 140.726 5118 .000 2.073

a. Predictors: (Constant), Myths and beliefs, Strengths and Weaknesses in mathematics, Self confidence in mathematics,

Family background and support, Interests in mathematics.

b. Dependent Variable: Mathematics Performance

Coefficientsa

Model Unstandardized CoefficientsStandardized Coefficients t Sig. Collinearity Statistics

BStd. Error Beta Tolerance VIF

1

(Constant) -.636 .194 -3.282.001

Strengths and Weaknesses in

mathematics -.374 .053 -.374 -7.108.000 .440 2.271

Family background and support .003 .066 .003 .051 .959 .418 2.392

Interests in mathematics .709 .089 .587 7.943 .000 .223 4.492

Self confidence in mathematics .692 .077 .485 9.003 .000 .419 2.385

Myths and beliefs .303 .082 .188 3.698 .000 .469 2.130

a. Dependent Variable: Mathematics Performance

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

441

Collinearity Diagnosticsa

ModelDimension Eigenvalue Condition

Index

Variance Proportions

(Constant) Strengths and

weaknesses in

mathematics

Family

background

and support

Interests in

mathematics Self confidence

in mathematics

Myths and

beliefs about

mathematics

1

1 5.918 1.000 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00

2 .038 12.546 .14 .43 .00 .01 .01 .02

3 .017 18.430 .35 .32 .24 .04 .08 .01

4 .012 22.290 .12 .04 .59 .17 .03 .17

5 .009 25.214 .01 .05 .16 .02 .74 .29

6 .006 32.268 .38 .15 .01 .77 .15 .52

a. Dependent Variable: Mathematics Performance

Residuals Statisticsa

Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation N

Predicted Value 1.6909 4.8030 3.5181 .69260 124

Residual -.84335 .95863 .00000 .28363 124

Std. Predicted Value -2.638 1.855 .000 1.000 124

Std. Residual -2.912 3.310 .000 .979 124

a. Dependent Variable: Mathematics Performance

Ordinary least squares regression (OLS) of the perception variables were used to determine the magnitude and direction

of effects of these variables on performance. The intercept regression model was used in this analysis because some of

the predictors have a possibility of being equal to zero so much that the intercept would have a meaningful interpretation.

The results of that analysis are shown in Table 8. The model indicates that 85.6%% (R-Square=0.856) variation in

student performance is explained by five (5) of the predictor variables, which are self-confidence, interest in mathematics,

family background and support, weaknesses in mathematics, and myths and beliefs about mathematics. Teacher

support, learning material and difficulties in doing mathematics were insignificant. The Durbin-Watson indicates that the

assumption of independent error is tenable since for these data the figure is 2.073 and is close to 2 (Durbin & Watson,

1951). No incidences of multi-collinearity were observed in the model since none of the variance inflation factors (VIF)

are close to or greater than 5. The analysis of variance table shows that the variables in the model have a statistically

significant effect on performance outcomes (F=140.726; Sig. =0.000).

A regression model was built in the form of an equation where the dependent variable is equal to the weighted

combination of the independent variables:

From the regression results presented in Table 8, it can be noted that not all variables have a statistically significant

effect on student performance. Statistically significant effects are observed on weaknesses in mathematics (t=-7.108, sig.

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

442

=0 .000); family background and support (t=0.051, sig. = 0.959); interest in mathematics (t=7.743, Sig. = 0 .000); self-

confidence (t=9.003, sig. =0.000) and myths and beliefs about mathematics (t=3.6989, sig. =0.000). Four of the five

variables (family background and support (0.003), interest in mathematics (0.587), self-confidence (0.485), myths and

beliefs about mathematics (0.188)) yield positive Beta coefficients indicating that they result in increases in student

performance. Therefore, at Į=0.05 level of significance, the study conclude that traits such as family background and

support, interest in mathematics, , self-confidence and myths and beliefs about mathematics have a positive effect on

students performance while strengths and weaknesses in mathematics seem to have a negative influence on students’

performance. Teacher support, teaching and learning support material and difficulties or challenges in doing mathematics

were considered insignificant in the regression model.

9. Discussion of Results

It can be recalled that the purpose of this study was to explore the students’ self-perceptions on mathematics and the

influence of these perceptions on achievement. The effects of demographic factors, which are gender, age and home

language, were also envisaged. It was also hypothesized highly that males perceive math more positively than females.

9.1 Gender and Perceptions

This study found that there was a significant difference in the way mathematics is perceived between males and females.

This is consistent with findings by Hoang (2008) who showed that male consistently reported slightly more positive

perceptions and attitudes than females. However a research carried out by Mohamed and Waheed (2011) showed that

the students’ positive attitude towards mathematics is medium and there is no gender difference in their attitudes.

Forgasz and Murimo (2011) also found gender differences in favour of male students' perceptions. Isiksal and Cakiroghi

(2010) also claim that boys are perceived to be better at mathematics than girls. Research shows that girls have lower

self-esteem than boys (Kleinfeld, 2006). Female students suffer a severe drop in self-esteem at adolescence while males

gain in self-assurance as they age while girls lose the vitality and sense of self they displayed in the lower grades.

9.2 Age and Perceptions

This study found that there was a significant difference in views and attitudes towards mathematics between the two age

cohorts of students. Descriptive statistics indicated that 16-20 year old students perceive mathematics differently than

older students. This is consistent with findings by Martinot and Désert (2007) which revealed that age was not statistically

significant in explaining perception levels the different age groups.

9.3 Language and Perceptions of Mathematics

This study found that there was a significant difference in perceptions of mathematics across different language cohorts.

Analysis of variance confirmed that language factors have no effect students’ perceptions of mathematics. South Africa is

a multi-cultural and multi-lingual country, students from different language backgrounds tent to perceive mathematics

differently. Students use language to communicate and to understand mathematics concepts. Language influences

students’ thought by moulding perceptions and structuring ideas Nordin (2005). This may be due to the lack of ability in

understanding of the subject matter and the instructional language. Language effects and perceptions of mathematics

have been extensively studied and results are inconsistent, with a number of studies revealing that the knowledge and

skills are new, unfamiliar and different from the language used in everyday life (Marissa, 2009).This may cause a

problem in the understanding of the mathematics concepts. Many researchers recommended that emphasis should be

given more on building up students’ proficiency in English before they could learn mathematics effectively.

9.4 Relationships between perception constructs and performance

The results emanating from the research also indicate that there is a statistically significant positive relationship between

teacher and learning materials supports a, family background and support, self-confidence, myths and beliefs, difficulties

in mathematics and performance in mathematics. From the above analysis one can assert that teacher/learning material

support, family background and support, self-confidence, myths and beliefs as well as difficulties in mathematics can

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

443

predict performance in mathematics. However, there was a statistically significant positive weak relationship between

weaknesses in mathematics and performance among the sample of students selected to participate in the research.

Since the p-values were less than 0.05 it therefore means that we reject the null hypothesis and conclude that the

identified constructs can predict performance.

Several relationships observed in this study were similar to findings of previous researchers. For example, student

beliefs were significantly related to several types of academic outcomes. Lynch (2002) found that students’ self-

perceptions of their reading ability were significantly associated with achievement whereas self-confidence beliefs were

associated with good performance in examinations.

In general, students who attributed their academic success to factors such as self-confidence, interest in

mathematics as well as family background and support tended to show higher achievement levels than students who

attribute their academic outcomes to natural talent or to good luck. In support of this claim, Wentzel and Wigfield (1998)

shared the same sentiments.

10. Conclusion and Recommendations

This study investigated the range of perception constructs towards mathematics performance shared by students at a

selected South African secondary school. Results from regression analysis revealed that five of the seven factors were

found to be influential on students’ performance in mathematics. The influence of factors such as weaknesses in

mathematics, teacher support/learning material, family background and support, interest in mathematics, difficulties in

doing mathematics, self-confidence and myths and beliefs about mathematics were identified as the major causes of

such perceptions. Results reveal that gender-related factors have an influence in the way students perceive

mathematics. It also revealed that age has an effect on students’ perceptions of mathematics. Language-related effects

were also found to significantly affect students’ performance.

This study has implications for all stakeholders, including teachers, schools and parents. The research reveals

that’s students who believe that their efforts will improve their performance are likely to enhance their achievement.

Therefore this study recommends that parents and teachers should play a significant role in shaping students’

perceptions and attitudes towards mathematics. It also recommends that students should not be discouraged by past

experiences in lower grades that convince them that they cannot do well in mathematics.

Additionally, higher maths ability is often believed to go hand-in-hand with greater levels of general intelligence.

Many students tend to subscribe to this attitude towards maths. However the study recommends that students should not

hold on to such myths and beliefs about mathematical intelligence that can affect their performance. If they believe that

intelligence in mathematics is a fixed quantity, something they have or do not have, but not something they acquire over

time, and they may not see the point of extra effort. Finally, if students attribute their success to their innate talents rather

than effort, they may not be motivated to work.

References

Aguilar, M. S., Rosas, A., & Zavaleta, J. G. M. (2012). 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education Topic Study Group 27 8

July – 15 July, 2012, COEX, Seoul, Korea.

Attalla, F., Bryant, S., & Dada, R. (2009). Learner and teacher conceptions and dispositions of mathematics from a Middle Eastern

perspective. US-China Education Review, 7(7).

Babbie, E. (2013). Practice of Social Research. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning Cengage Learning.

Borasi, R. (1990). The invisible hand operating on mathematics instruction: Students´ conceptions and expectations. Reston: NCTM.

Brown, D. (2006). Teachers’ implicit theories of expression in visual arts education: A study of Western Australian teachers. Unpublished

Doctoral thesis. Cowan University.

Buhagiar, D. (2013). Views of Mathematics. Jesuit in Malta, ST Aloysius College.

Chamberlin, A. S. (2010). A review of Instruments Created to Assess Affect in Mathematics. Journal of Mathematics Education, 3 (1),

167-182.

Chick, H. L., & Vincent, J. L. (Eds.) (2005). Students’ motivational beliefs, self-regulation strategies and mathematics achievement

Proceedings of the 29th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 3, 321-328.

Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J., & Prosser, M. (1993). Learning mathematics at university level: Initial conceptions of

mathematics. In B. Atweh, C. Kanes, M. Carss, & G. Booker (Eds.), Contexts in mathematics education. Proceedings of the

Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Mathematical Education Research Group of Australasia Brisbane: Mathematics Education

Research Group of Australasia.

De Villiers, R. (2007). Migration from developing countries: the case of South African teachers to the United Kingdom. Perspectives in

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

444

Education, 25 (2), 67-76.

Durbin, J., & Watson, G. S. (1951). "Testing for Serial Correlation in Least Squares Regression, II". Biometrika, 38 (1–2): 159–179.

Ernest, P. (1995). Values, gender and images of mathematics: a philosophical perspective. International Journal of Mathematics

Education, Science and Technology, 26 (3), 449-462.

Forgazs, H., & Murimo, A. E. (2011). Depictions of females and males in Mozambican and Victorian (Australia) primary mathematics

textbooks. Pythagoras, 66: 85-96.

Frank, M. L. (1990). What myths about mathematics are held and conveyed by teachers? Arithmetic Teacher, 37(5), 10-12.

Furinghetti, F. & Pehkonen, E. (2002). Rethinking characterisations of beliefs. In G. Leder, E. Pehkonen & G. Törner (Eds.), Beliefs: A

hidden variable in mathematics education? Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Gadanidis, G. (2012). Why can’t I be a mathematician? FLM Publishing Association, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Hammond, L. D. (2000). Teacher Quality and Student Achievement. Education Policy Archives, 8 (1), 1-44.

Hannula, M. S. (2007). The effect of achievement, gender and classroom contexts on upper secondary students' mathematical beliefs.

Lyon France.

Hoang, T. N. (2008). The effects of grade level, gender, and ethnicity on attitude and learning environment in mathematics in high

school. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 3 (1).

Holbrook, A. L., Krosnick, J. A., & Pfent, A. (2008). The Causes and Consequences of Response Rates in Surveys by the News Media

and Government Contractor Survey Research Firms. John Wiley & Sons.

House, J. D. (2006). Mathematics Beliefs and Achievement of Elementary School Students in Japan and the United States: Results

From the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 167(1), 31–45.

Iddo, G., & Ginsburg. L. (1994). The Role of Beliefs and Attitudes in Learning Statistics: Towards an Assessment Framework. Journal of

Statistics Education, 2, (2).

Ignacio, N. G., Nieto, L. J. B., & Barona, E. G. (2006). The affective domain in mathematics learning. International Electronic Journal of

Mathematics Education, 1(1), 16-32.

Isiksal, M., & Cakiroghi, E. (2010). Gender Differences Regarding Mathematics Achievement: The Case of Turkish Middle School

Students. School Science and Mathematics, 108 (3), 113–120.

Kaasila, R., Hannula, M. S., Laine, A., & Pehkonen, E. (2006). Facilitators for change of elementary teacher student's view of

mathematics. International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 3(3), 385-392.

Kane, J. M., & Mertz, J. E. (2012). Debunking Myths about Gender and Mathematics Performance. Notices of the Ams, 59, (1).

Kayander, A., & Lovric, M. (2005). ‘Transition from Secondary to Tertiary Mathematics: McMaster University experience’. International

Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 36(2-3), 149-160.

Kimball, M., & Smith, N. (2013). The Myth of 'I'm Bad at Math'. AM ET, October 28.

Kislenko, K., Breiteig, T., & Grevholm, B. (2005). Beliefs and attitudes in mathematicsteaching and learning. Trondheim:Nasjonalt Senter

for Matematikk i Opplæringen.

Kleinfeld, J. (2006). Five powerful strategies for connecting boys to school. Pare presented at the White House Conference on Helping

America’s Youth. Indianapolis, Indiana.

Kupari, P., & Nissinen, K. (2013). Background factors behind mathematics achievement in Finnish education context: London:

Routledge.

Lavasania, M. G., & Khandana, F. (2011). The effect of cooperative learning on mathematics anxiety and help seeking behaviour.

Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15: 271–276.

Leder, G. C., Pehkonen, E., & Törner, G. (2002a). Setting the scene. In G. C. Leder E. Pehkonen & G. Törner (Eds.), Beliefs: A hidden

variable in mathematics education? Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Leder, G. C., Pehkonen, E., & Törner, G. (Eds.). (2002b). Beliefs: A hidden variable in mathematics education? Dordrecht: Kluwer

Academic Publishers.

Leder, G. C. & Forgasz, H. J. (2002). Measuring Mathematical Beliefs and Their Impact on the Learning of Mathematics. Dordrecht:

Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Lynch, J. (2002). Parents, self-efficacy beliefs, parents’ gender, children’s reader self-perceptions, reading achievement and gender.

Journal of Research in Reading, 25, 54-67.

Marissa, R. (2009).Current Issues and Perspectives on Second Language Learning of Science. Studies in Science Education, 35(1).

Martinot, D. Désert, M. (2007). Awareness of a gender stereotype, personal beliefs and self-perceptions regarding math ability: when

boys do not surpass girls. Soc Psychol Educ, 10:455–471.

Masitsa, M. G. (2011). Exploring safety in township secondary schools in the Free State Province. South African Journal of Education,

31:163-174.

McLeod, D. B. (1992). Research on affect in mathematics education: A conceptualisation. New York: Macmillan.

Mohamed, L., & Waheed, H. (2011). Secondary Students’ Attitude towards Mathematics in a Selected School of Maldives. International

Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1 (15).

Moscucci, M. (2008). About mathematical belief systems awareness. Working Group, 2, 298-307.

Moreau, M. P., Mendick, H. & Epstein, D. (2010). Constructions of mathematicians in popular culture and learners’ narratives: a study or

mathematical and non-mathematical subjectivities. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(1): 25-38.

Mtetwa, D., & Garofalo, J. (1989). Beliefs about mathematics: An overlooked aspect of student difficulties. Academic Therapy, 24(5),

611-618.

E-ISSN 2039-2117

ISSN 2039-9340 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy

Vol 5 No 3

March 2014

445

Nordin, A.B. (2005). Students’ perception on teaching and learning mathematics in English. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11,

(4).

Op’t Eynde, P., De Corte, E., & Verschaffel, L. (2002). Framing students' mathematics-related beliefs: A quest for conceptual clarity and

a comprehensive categorization. Dordrecht: Kluwer

Osborne, R. J., Bell, B. F. dan Gilbert, J. K. (1983). Science teaching and children’s views of the world. Eur. J. Sci. Educ, 5(1), 1 - 4.

Pehkonen, E. (1997). Some results in the international comparison of pupils' mathematical views. Psychology of Mathematics

Education, 1:267-274.

Pehkonen, E., & Pietilä, A. (2003). On relationships between beliefs and knowledge in mathematics education. Paper presented at the

CERME 3: Third conference of the European society for research in mathematics education, Bellaria, Italy.

Philipp, R. A. (2006). Mathematics teachers’ beliefs and affect. Teachers and teaching, 7, 257-315

Picker, S. H., & Berry, J.S. (2000). Investigating pupils’ images of mathematicians. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 43 (1), 65-94.

Rensaa, R. J. (2006). The image of a mathematician. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, 19:118.

Renzi, L. (2005). The influence of teachers’ beliefs on literature instruction in the high school english classroom. Unpublished

dissertation, Ohio State University.

Sam, L. C. (2002). Public images of mathematics. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, 15:15.

Schoenfeld, A. H. (2008). Explorations of Students' Mathematical Beliefs and Behaviour. Journal for Research in Mathematics

Education, 20(4), 338-355.

Sewell, B. (1981). Use of mathematics by adults in daily life. Leicester, UK: Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education

(ACACE).

Spaull, N. (2012). Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa. A working paper of the department of economics and

the bureau for economic research at the University of Stellenbosch.

Thompson, A. G. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and conceptions: a synthesis of the research. New York: Macmillan.

Tobias, S. (2003). Overcoming math anxiety. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Wentzel, K. R. & Wigfield, A. (1998) .Academic and Social Motivational Influences on Students' Academic Performance. Educational

Psychology Review, 10(2), 155-175.

Zacharia, Z., A. (2004). Urban middle-school students’ attitudes toward a defined science. Science Education, 88(2): 197-222.