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In recent years, there has been increasing interest in examining values in relation to mathematics education research. Our exploratory study examines the mathematics education values of culturally diverse middle school students in New Zealand. We investigated how student values differed across demographic variables including school, ethnicity, gender and grades. Students completed an online survey to indicate the importance of 14 different mathematics education values. The overall mean ratings for each of the 14 values determined the relative value importance across the sample. One-way ANOVA assessed demographic group differences. Findings showed that respect was rated as the most important value across all student groups. Students from Pacific nations placed significantly greater importance on accuracy, communication, family and recall compared to the other ethnicities. Female students emphasized family, practice, respect, risk-taking and utility more than males. We argue that to provide equitable mathematics classrooms that support wellbeing, we need to recognize what diverse student groups value and then transform pedagogy to align with and build from students’ values. This article provides a contribution by offering a way of understanding and highlighting similarities and differences in student values which impact on students’ learning experiences and wellbeing.
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Examining the mathematics education values of
diverse groups of students
Julia L. Hill & Jodie Hunter
To cite this article: Julia L. Hill & Jodie Hunter (2023): Examining the mathematics education
values of diverse groups of students, International Journal of Mathematical Education in
Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2023.2184280
To link to this article:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis
Published online: 19 Mar 2023.
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Examining the mathematics education values of diverse
groups of students
Julia L. Hill aand Jodie Hunter b
aMelbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; bInstitute of
Education, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in examining val-
ues in relation to mathematics education research. Our exploratory
study examines the mathematics education values of culturally
diverse middle school students in New Zealand. We investigated
how student values differed across demographic variables includ-
ing school, ethnicity, gender and grades. Students completed an
online survey to indicate the importance of 14 different mathemat-
ics education values. The overall mean ratings for each of the 14
values determined the relative value importance across the sample.
One-way ANOVA assessed demographic group differences. Findings
showed that respect was rated as the most important value across
all student groups. Students from Pacific nations placed significantly
greater importance on accuracy, communication, family and recall
compared to the other ethnicities. Female students emphasized fam-
ily, practice, respect, risk-taking and utility more than males. We
argue that to provide equitable mathematics classrooms that sup-
port wellbeing, we need to recognize what diverse student groups
value and then transform pedagogy to align with and build from
students’ values. This article provides a contribution by offering a
way of understanding and highlighting similarities and differences in
student values which impact on students’ learning experiences and
Received 28 February 2022
Affect; mathematics
education values; equity;
culture; well-being;
wellbeing; engagement;
1. Introduction
Values are central to education underpinning both purpose and practice within schools
(Allen et al., 2017). Over many years, mathematics teaching and learning typically focused
on students cognitive outcomes including knowledge, skills and academic performance
with less attention to cultural and holistic variables including values and wellbeing (Fan,
2021). Accordingly, mathematics education was positioned as a universal subject tran-
scending culture and values (Bishop et al., 2003). However, there has been growing
recognition that mathematics is embedded in culture and values and that mathematics is
a cultural product (D’Ambrosio, 1985). Mathematics education is inuenced by the values
CONTACT Julia L. Hill; Melbourne Graduate School of Education,
The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor& Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License
(, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium,
provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered,transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been
published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
of multiple stakeholders including broader society and community, curriculum designers,
schoolprincipals,teachers,andstudentsthemselves(Zhang&Seah,2021). Considering
values are subjective and environmentally constrained, this paper will focus on students’
perspectives of values in mathematics teaching and learning.
Increasing interest in exploring students values in mathematics education is evidenced
in the growth of publications in this area (Clarkson et al., 2019;Zhang&Seah,2021),
and the international research collaboration based around the ‘What I Find Important’
(WIFI) questionnaire (Seah & Wong, 2012). The WIFI studies aim to identify and map
co-constructed valuing through examining student and teacher values and classroom
interactions. Many of these studies have examined the values of groups of culturally
homogenous samples within a country or have undertaken comparisons of student values
across countries (e.g. Law et al., 2012;Pang&Seah,2021;Zhangetal.,2016). It appears
that there have been limited studies focusing on the values of marginalized groups of stu-
dents or the diversities of values of diering groups of students within the same system
(e.g. classroom, city, or country).
Students from dierent cultural groups frequently espouse dierent values and accord-
ingly their worldview is inuenced by their cultural background. Similar to many countries,
New Zealand has an increasingly diverse population which is reected in the composition
of students within the classroom and schools. This includes Pakeha (New Zealand Euro-
pean) (70% of the total population), indigenous M¯aori (16.5%), P¯asik¯apeople(fromthe
Pacic Islands) (8%), and those of Asian heritage (15%) (Stats NZ, 2018). Both M¯aori and
Pacic cultures draw on collectivism as a key value with strong obligations to the wellbe-
ing of a group (Hunter, 2021;Ueharaetal.,2018),thiscontrastswithPakehaculturewhich
displays a low level of collectivist value orientation (Podsiadlowski & Fox, 2011). Inter-
estingly, New Zealand has one of the widest levels of mathematics education achievement
disparity amongst OECD nations (OECD, 2018) with a long tail of under-achievement for
marginalized groups.
Earlier studies have highlighted that when students learning values are fullled and
ues), students are happier, more engaged, feel like they belong and are respected, and
thus have greater levels of wellbeing in mathematics education (Hill, Kern, Seah, et al.,
2021;Sirgy,2021;Tiberius,2018). In contrast, disengagement, dislike and illbeing occurs
when student values are not being fullled or conict with their values in their math-
ematics classroom. We argue that to achieve equity in schooling requires teachers to
develop culturally sustaining pedagogy which draws upon the values and identity of stu-
dents as a strength in teaching and learning. Given the signicant equity issues in New
Zealand, there needs to be greater attention to students’ values to facilitate equitable
In this study, we explore what students value as most important when learning mathe-
(1) What mathematics education values are rated as most and least important by a
culturally diverse group of middle school students?
(2) How do fourteen mathematics education values dier in importance across student
ethnicities, genders and grades?
2. Literature review
In this section, we explore the key mathematics values concepts, and secondly, review the
research exploring student values in mathematics education across dierent countries and
2.1. Dening values
Earlier denitions of values describe them as enduring beliefs that are linked to feelings
(Clarkson et al., 2000; Debellis & Goldin, 2006;Rokeach,1973). Values and beliefs are
closely interconnected (Debellis & Goldin, 2006; Grootenboer & Marshman, 2015). For
instance, someone can believe something is true (e.g. believing mathematics is about accu-
racy) and value it at the same time (e.g. accuracy is important in mathematics). Yet, there
are also marked dierences beliefs are generally concerned with truths or correctness
andareespeciallystableovertime(Grootenboer&Marshman,2015). Values are slightly
less stable than beliefs and generally concern the degree of importance of some experi-
ence, object, or activity (Seah, 2019).Valuesaremoremotivationalinnaturegenerating
reasons to respond in specic ways whilst assisting individuals to plan and evaluate how
connected to culture than are beliefs, with culture being a value system organized formally
and informally and serving to set norms and standards for people from dierent groups
to aid decision making (McConatha & Schnell, 1995;Schwartz,2012). The hierarchical
nature of values also dierentiates them from beliefs (Schwartz, 2012). At the highest level
are ‘ultimate values’ (e.g. relationships, life meaning, accomplishments) valued for their
own sake and most impactful on a person’s subjective experiences (e.g. wellbeing, happi-
ness). Underneath these are ‘instrumental’ values, being everything valued to achieve more
relationships (Tiberius, 2018).
In sum, we dene values as the core of culture (McConatha & Schnell, 1995), and the
hierarchy of things an individual cares about, an indication of what is important, and as the
foundation from which individuals base, plan and judge their lives, consequently, values
dene wellbeing (Seah, 2019;Tiberius,2018).
2.2. Values in the context of mathematics education
Within mathematics education, earlier theorizing classied values as part of an aective
system (alongside mathematical beliefs, attitudes and emotions) (Bishop, 1996;Debel-
lis & Goldin, 2006). More recently, values in mathematics have been conceptualized as
motivational or conative, conation representing the striving component of motivation
(Bishop, 1996;Emmons,1986;Seah,2019). Considering the high incidence of student
disengagement (Attard, 2013) and lack of persistence (Sullivan et al., 2013)reportedin
many mathematics classrooms, the conative qualities of values are especially important. In
our work we dene values and valuing in mathematics education as conative, as ‘an indi-
vidual’s embracing of convictions in mathematics pedagogy which are of importance and
worth personally. .. [shaping] the individual’s willpower to embody the convictions in the
choice of actions’ (Seah, 2019, p. 107). Put simply, values in mathematics education con-
cern important mathematical objects, experiences, or pedagogies that also drive students
Values in mathematics education have been categorized into three broad subtypes: gen-
eral education values (that is moral and ethical values aligned with purpose of education
e.g. valuing justice); mathematical values (the values of mathematics as a discipline, i.e.
rationalism, objectism, openness, mystery, control and progress); and mathematics educa-
tion values (any value associated with teaching and learning mathematics e.g. clear teacher
explanations or group work) (Bishop, 1996). These three value categories are not mutually
exclusive. For example, students may value respect more broadly (i.e. a general education
value) because mathematics supports understanding of equity and fairness. However, a
student may also value respect specic to their learning in the mathematics classroom
(i.e. a mathematics education value) because they desire friendships and support. Across
Bishop’s three value subtypes, mathematics education values are cited most often by stu-
dents and teachers, they have the most inuence on learning experiences, are most closely
tied to cultural values, and subsequently have received the most research attention (Seah,
2019). For these reasons our study focuses on students mathematics education values,
rather than general or mathematics values.
Students’ mathematics education values have been linked to various positive learn-
ing outcomes including learning preferences, positive classroom relationships, feeling
respected, academic engagement and student wellbeing in mathematics (e.g. Averill, 2012;
Guo et al., 2015;Hill,2018; Hill, Kern, Seah, et al., 2021;Hunter,2021; Kalogeropou-
los & Bishop, 2019). For instance, improvements in student mathematical engagement
(Kalogeropoulos & Bishop, 2019). Additionally, signicant similarities were noted between
students’ descriptions of their values including mathematics education values and wellbe-
ing in mathematics education indicating that addressing values can support wellbeing in
the subject (Hill, Kern, Seah, et al., 2021). However, mathematics education values are sub-
jective and vary from one student to the next, particularly across ethnicities, cultures and
demographics. To achieve equitable learning outcomes for diverse groups of students, it is
important to recognize these values dierences.
2.3. Values in mathematics education across countries and cultures
Values in mathematics education vary across countries and cultures in part because of dif-
ferences in cultural values or region-specic pedagogical practices (Hunter, 2021;Zhang,
2019). For example, across the WIFI in learning mathematics studies, dierences have
been noted in what students from dierent cultural contexts value as most important
with consistency in specic locations (Davis et al., 2019; Österling et al., 2015sterling
&Andersson,2013). For example, studies (e.g. Law et al., 2011;Lim,2015;Zhang,2019)
with Chinese students found that they consistently emphasized accomplishments (e.g.
smartness, achievement, memory), eort, practice and teacher led learning (e.g. teacher
explanations, strictness, teacher board work). Another Australian study (with a predom-
inantly immigrant sample) reported students most valued achievement, open-endedness,
humanism, relevance and ICT, captured using the WIFI questionnaire (Seah & Barkatsas,
2014). Potentially, the emphasis on achievement may reect the social inequities faced by
immigrant students. Other studies in New Zealand found similarities between collectivist
P¯asik¯aandM¯aori cultural values and students’ mathematics education values, such as
practice, family, peer support, respect and persistence (Anthony, 2013;Hill,2018;Hunter,
To a lesser extent other research has examined the dierences in values for students
from dierent cultures. A comparative WIFI study with students from mainland China,
Taiwan and Hong Kong found students across these regions shared the same six val-
ues (i.e. achievement, relevance, practice, communication, ICT and feedback). Yet, across
regions the importance attributed to each value diered, for example, Chinese mainland
students valued practice, achievement and relevance signicantly more than the other
regions, potentially because mainland China is more populous and has a greater emphasis
on high stakes exams. Using interviews, Dede (2019) revealed both similarities and dif-
ferences in values for German, Turkish and Turkish immigrant students. Utility, relevance
and rationalism were common among the three groups, fun was valued only by the German
and Turkish students. Germans valued consolidating knowledge, Turkish valued practice,
and communication was valued only by immigrant students. Like the Seah and Barkatsas
values in mathematics.
ties in students’ mathematics education values within a single country or region (e.g. Aktaş
et al., 2021;Anthony,2013;Hill,2018). Other cross-cultural values studies (e.g. Dede, 2019;
Seah & Barkatsas, 2014)usetheWIFIquestionnaire,however,thisdoesnotaddressunique
cultural values (e.g. family, respect, reciprocity) which potentially impacts on the responses
of Indigenous or other groups of marginalized students. For example, Hill (2017,2018)
investigated ethnic dierences in mathematics education values for M¯aori, P¯asik¯a, Asian
and European students within Auckland, New Zealand. She found all ethnicities mostly
valued utility. M¯aori and P¯asik¯a students rated collaborative and family values as most
important, and interestingly, Asian, and European students rated these same values as least
important, reecting the intersection of cultural values and students’ mathematics educa-
tion values. Another New Zealand study noted students from low socio-economic schools
(predominately M¯aori and P¯asik¯a students) emphasized more collaborative values than
students from high socio-economic schools (Anthony, 2013). Aktaş et al. (2021)explored
the values of Turkish students in Islamic schools to other studies with non-religious Turk-
ish students and concluded that students in Islamic schools espoused relevance to a lesser
extent. The researchers argue that Islamic beliefs emphasize utility mathematics values to
reveal hidden truths, thus relevance might be less salient than other values in mathemat-
ics education. The study reported in this article focuses on a single system (i.e. country)
uncovering the rich cultural diversities in mathematics education values across classrooms
in New Zealand.
2.4. Values in mathematics education across grade levels
As students develop and progress through school, both pedagogy and learning environ-
ments alongside students priorities and values can change. A longitudinal study with
American students highlighted that subjective mathematical task values (i.e. attainment,
intrinsic and utility values) declined as students progressed from grades 1 through 12
(Jacobs et al., 2002). Similarly, a Ghanaian study (Davis et al., 2019)comparedvalues
across primary to secondary grades and found that valuing increased for achievement, u-
ency, authority, versatility, ICT and knowing multiple strategies as students became older.
Additionally, senior secondary students valued relevance less than primary and junior sec-
ondary students and valued greater understanding and mastery potentially because high
stakes exams were introduced in secondary grades. Zhang (2019)reportedprimarystu-
dents in China attributed greater value to ability, eort, diligence, use of formulas and
memory than secondary students. Also, secondary students were more likely to value
knowledge and mathematical thinking. Another study by Tang et al. (2021)reportedjunior
secondary school as a critical period of change in Chinese students values, with values
switching across the primary to secondary school transition. Specically, primary students
memorization and control values shifted to emphasize understanding and objectism in the
secondary years, whereas valuing ICT declined, and practice increased as students became
and decreases in student valuing as they progress through school.
2.5. Gender and values in mathematics education
Across research studies which examine gender dierences in relation to valuing in mathe-
matics education, there are both similarities and dierences. Here we dene gender as the
socially constructed characteristics of boys and girls (World Health Organization, n.d.)A
solving processes with mathematical understanding, and eort and practising (e.g. doing
lots of examples). In contrast, girls valued the use of mathematical discourse, autonomy and
greater opportunities for their voices to be heard. Similarly, Wong (1995) highlighted that
girls valued collaboration in mathematics whilst males preferred competition and prob-
lems solving. However, in studies from Anglo-western cultures, American girls and boys
showed similar values concerning the importance of performing well (e.g. Wigeld et al.,
1997). German, Swedish and American girls perceived mathematics education as less valu-
able (i.e. task value) than boys and less useful for future professional aspirations (Gaspard
et al., 2015;Hydeetal.,1990; Samuelsson & Samuelsson, 2016). In contrast with studies
in the mathematics classroom and during group work compared to boys (Samuelsson &
Samuelsson, 2016).
3. Research design and methods
3.1. Participants
Five schools throughout New Zealand were invited by email to participate in the study. In
New Zealand, there is a strong intersection between ethnicity and socio-economic back-
ground particularly for P¯asik¯aandM¯aori communities (Stats NZ, 2018). New Zealand
schools use a decile ranking system to indicate socio-economic status. Decile one indicates
that the school is within the lowest socio-economic area while decile ten indicates that the
school is in the highest socio-economic area. Overall, students from P¯asik¯aandM¯aori
backgrounds are more likely to attend low decile (and socio-economic) schools, whilst
Tab le 1. Student demographics.
Student ethnicities
Asian European M¯
aori P¯
asifika Row totals
Males 14 123 54 70 261 (46%)
Females 9 157 55 81 302 (54%)
Tollmouth (Dec. 1) 1 1 15 112 129 (23%)
Smith (Dec. 6) 16 149 43 14 222 (39%)
Jersey (Dec. 3) 4 99 18 4 125 (22%)
Totara (Dec. 5) 0 28 15 0 43 (8%)
Ranginui (Dec. 1) 2 4 19 22 47 (8%)
Grade 7 17 163 69 93 342 (60%)
Grade 8 6 118 41 59 224 (40%)
Column totals 23 (4%) 281 (50%) 110 (19%) 152 (27%)
Note: Deciles 1 and 3 =low sociodemographic schools, deciles 5 and 6 =medium demo-
graphic schools.
European Pakeha and Asian students tend to attend higher decile (and socio-economic)
schools. Given a key focus in this study was on the values of culturally diverse students,
all of the schools invited to participate were middle to low decile. The schools were also
selected to cover a range of geographic locations and to include both urban and rural areas.
All ve schools consented to take part which included 566 middle school students (Years
7 and 8). Student demographics variables are summarized in Table 1. Three low decile and
two medium decile schools are included here. The clustering of ethnicities by school decile
is reected in our study with most P¯asik¯aandM¯aori students attending the low decile
schools and European and Asian students attending the medium decile schools.
3.2. Data collection
Students completed an online Qualtrics survey during schooltime at the beginning of 2019,
recording the extent to which they valued 14 dierent mathematics educational values
listed in Table 2. Mathematics education values were considered to be any objects, experi-
ences, or pedagogies that students considered important for their learning of mathematics
(Bishop, 1996;Seah,2019). We developed the survey ourselves so that the cultural val-
ues of M¯aori and P¯asik¯a students which are often missing from existing mathematics
values surveys (e.g. WIFI) could be included. Specically, the survey included three cultur-
ally derived mathematics education values family, respect and belonging from earlier
researchstudiesinNewZealandwithM¯aori and P¯asik¯a learners (Anthony, 2013;Aver-
ill & Clark, 2012;Hill,2018) and New Zealand policy documents (Ministry of Education,
2013). Also included were eleven mathematics education values derived from earlier sur-
veys (e.g. WIFI) and considered important by teachers and students in other studies
accuracy, mathematical clarity, peer collaboration, persistence, practice, problem solving,
recall, risk taking, communication/talking, teacher explanations and utility (Clarkson et al.,
As it can be challenging for children to relate directly to values, each value was incor-
porated into a statement. For example, ‘maths when it is clear and makes sense to me’
represented the value of mathematical clarity. Students rated the importance of each value
the far right (‘very important to me’). Labels appeared only on the endpoints as anchors as
Tab le 2. The fourteen mathematics education values and their corresponding value statements.
Mathematics education values Value statement
Accuracy To get the correct or right answer in mathematics
Belonging Feeling like I belong, or I am connected to others in my mathematics class
Family To have my family (whanau) help or support me with my mathematics
Mathematical clarity Mathematics when it is clear and makes sense to me
Peer collaboration Working together with other children in mathematics
Persistence If I can’t solve a difficult mathematics problem, I need to keep working at it
Practice To practice my mathematics lots so that I can improve
Problem solving Trying out different way to see what works to solve a mathematics problem
Recall To be able to know my basic facts quickly
Respect Having respect for my mathematics teacher, and my teacher respecting me
Risk taking To have a go at answering a mathematics problem even if I think I might be wrong
Communication/talking Talking about my ideas with a group or with a partner
Teacher explanations My mathematics teacher needs to explain it to me properly so that I can understand
Utility Doing mathematics that is useful for my life outside of school
recommended by other surveys measuring aect and wellbeing constructs (Butler & Kern,
2016). A ten-point scale was selected because previous surveys (e.g. Andersson & Öster-
ling, 2019) exploring values in mathematics show ratings tend to skew to the upper end (i.e.
important rather than not important). Greater scale options can minimize this skewness
and provide greater variability in students’ responses (Dawes, 2008).
3.3. Data analysis
All statistical tests were conducted using the Statistical Program for Social Sciences
(SPSS21). To address the rst research question, we ranked the value means from the
were rated as most and least important. To determine if the importance of each of these
fourteen values diered signicantly from one another, across the whole sample and by eth-
nicity, gender and grade, one-way repeated measure ANOVA (using Greenhouse-Geisser
corrections) and post-hoc Bonferroni tests were used.
To explore if the individual mathematics educational values were signicantly more or
less important across student groups (research question two) fourteen one-way multifacto-
rial ANOVA were conducted using the mathematical educational values as the dependent
tests conrmed homogeneity of variances across these groups for each dependent variable
(p>.069). Main eects for ethnicity, gender and grade were explored. School main eects
were not investigated because of the unequal proportions of ethnicities in schools. Two-
and three-way interactions were also not explored because of low sample sizes in some
groups. A limitation of this study is that the results for the Asian students may potentially
reect the lower sample size (n=24) and subsequent lack of statistical power, rather than
4. Findings
Research Question One What mathematics education values are rated most and least
important by a culturally diverse group of middle school students?
Figure 1. Mean value ratings from highest to lowest across all students.
Note: Value means arerepresented by the circle symbol and summarized on the far right. Values are ordered from the highest
means at the top to the lowest means at the bottom.
Across all 566 students the highest rated (most important) value was respect
(M=8.56, SD =1.95), followed by teacher explanations (M=7.94, SD=2.33), risk tak-
ing (M=7.91, SD =2.13), recall (M=7.74, SD =2.50) then persistence (M=7.66,
SD =2.29) all displayed in Figure 1. Overall, the least important value was accuracy
(M=6.52, SD =2.75). The range for respect, risk taking and teacher explanations were
all skewed to the right indicating that students were more likely to rate these values as
‘important’ rather than ‘not important’. Statistically signicant dierences were found
across the fourteen values F(10.73, 5673.67) =6.30, p<.001. Across the whole sample
post hoc Bonferroni tests conrmed respect was rated signicantly higher than all other
values. The next seven highest rated values (i.e. teacher explanations, risk taking, recall,
persistence, family, practice, problem solving) did not signicantly dier from one another,
however, they were each signicantly higher than all the last seven values (i.e. utility, clarity,
belonging, collaboration, communication and accuracy).
Group dierences in value ratings were also investigated. Table 3summarizes the four-
teen value means and standard deviations across ethnicities, genders and grades with the
superscripts 1–5 representing the top ve and 14 the least important values. Overall, the
mean ratings for the fourteen values diered signicantly for each ethnicity (Asian, F(5.57,
169.07) =2.57, p=.25; European, F(9.91, 2885.78) =22.87, p<.001; M¯aori, F(9.41,
1025.82) =10.65, p<.001; and P¯asik¯astudents,F(10.42, 1699.10) =8.13, p<.001);
gender (males, F(10.19, 2766.1) =15.22, p<.001; females, F(10.56, 3304.63) =26.87,
Tab le 3. Value means and standard deviations across all demographic groups.
Asian Euro M¯
aori P¯
aM F Gr7 Gr8
Accuracy 7.83 (2.10) 6.3414 (2.66) 5.7614 (2.69) 7.2214 (2.85) 6.60 (2.72) 6.46 (2.77) 6.5014 (2.86) 6.5514 (2.59)
Belonging 7.09(2.39) 6.80 (2.60) 6.47 (2.75) 7.56 (2.41) 6.87 (2.50) 7.04 (2.66) 6.78 (2.63) 7.21 (2.53)
Clarity 8.04 (1.64) 7.21 (2.57) 6.57 (2.68) 7.64 (2.31) 7.42 (2.47) 7.08 (2.53) 7.08 (2.57) 7.47 (2.42)
Collaboration 7.57 (1.93) 6.68 (2.41) 6.56 (2.42) 7.63 (2.56) 6.94 (2.40) 6.99 (2.53) 6.96 (2.57) 6.94 (2.32)
Communication 7.09 (2.17) 6.70 (2.52) 6.49 (2.79) 7.64 (2.41) 6.69 (2.55) 7.15 (2.56) 6.88 (2.65) 7.00 (2.44)
Family 7.0414 (2.65) 7.27 (2.54) 7.504(2.58) 8.532(2.20) 7.22 (2.66) 8.004(2.34) 7.634(2.63) 7.67 (2.34)
Persistence 8.303(1.72) 7.555(2.23) 7.325(2.20) 8.03 (2.48) 7.685(2.23) 7.66 (2.33) 7.49 (2.40) 7.934(2.09)
Practice 8.265(1.91) 7.17 (2.53) 7.05 (2.43) 8.344(2.32) 7.25 (2.64) 7.745(2.33) 7.46 (2.53) 7.57 (2.42)
Problem solving 7.96 (2.27) 7.14 (2.26) 7.18 (2.06) 8.19 (2.34) 7.44 (2.23) 7.49 (2.34) 7.49 (2.32) 7.43 (2.25)
Recall 8.304(2.42) 7.614(2.36) 7.05 (2.72) 8.393(2.46) 7.773(2.47) 7.72 (2.53) 7.605(2.63) 7.963(2.29)
Respect 8.741(1.60) 8.471(1.85) 8.291(2.13) 8.891(2.01) 8.221(2.14) 8.851(1.72) 8.581(1.94) 8.531(1.98)
Risk taking 8.392(1.85) 7.912(2.03) 7.553(2.14) 8.12 (2.32) 7.764(2.11) 8.072(2.14) 7.922(2.13) 7.915(2.13)
Teacher explanations 8.265(2.30) 7.883(2.17) 7.682(2.28) 8.195(2.62) 7.812(2.25) 8.063(2.38) 7.863(2.46) 8.062(2.10)
Utility 8.13 (1.79) 7.38 (2.48) 6.90 (2.57) 7.74 (2.58) 7.21 (2.59) 7.59 (2.44) 7.22 (2.61) 7.71 (2.36)
Note: SD in brackets, M =males, F =females, 1–5 top five values, 14 lowest value.
p<.001) and grade (Grade 7, F(10.44, 3680.69) =16.52, p<.001; Grade 8, F(10.47,
2458.81) =16.52, p<.001). Tukey tests conrmed respect was rated signicantly more
important than all the other values by the European, M¯aori and P¯asik¯astudents,also
females and Grade 7 students. No signicant dierences were found for the Asian students
across any of the fourteen values, which could be attributed to the lower sample size of the
Asian students. For male students the top four values (i.e. respect, teacher explanations,
recall, risk taking) did not dier signicantly from each other, however these four values
were each signicantly higher than the last ve values (i.e. collaboration, belonging, com-
munication and accuracy). For females there were no signicant dierences between the
second to the seventh most important values (i.e. risk taking, teacher explanations, fam-
ily, practice, recall and persistence) whilst these seven each diered signicantly to all the
last four values (i.e. clarity, belonging, collaboration and accuracy). For Grade 7 students
the second to the sixth most important values did not dier signicantly (i.e. risk taking,
teacher explanations, family, recall, persistence) however they each diered to the last three
values (i.e. communication, belonging and accuracy). Grade 8 students’ rst three values
(i.e. respect, teacher explanations and recall) also the third to tenth most important values
did not dier signicantly from each other. However, the rst three values did signicantly
dier to the last ve values (i.e. belonging, communication, collaboration and accuracy).
All students rated accuracy as least important except the Asian students who rated family
as least important.
Research Question Two How do fourteen mathematics education values dier in
importance across student ethnicities, genders and grades?
As summarized in Table 4, signicant dierences were discovered across dierent eth-
nicities for some values including accuracy, F(3, 503) =2.62, p=.051; communication
F(3, 503) =2.87, p=.042; p=.041; family F(3, 503) =2.09 p=.024; and recall F(3,
503) =2.81, p=.042, and these were attributed to P¯asik¯a students rating these values
signicantly higher than the other ethnicities.
Additionally, we noted dierences in value ratings by gender. Female students
rated family F(1, 503) =5.09, p=.023; practice F(1, 503) =7.14, p=.014; respect
F(1, 503) =7.44, p=.011; risk- taking F(1, 503) =10.49, p<.011; and utility F(1,
Tab le 4. Statistically significant group differences across the values.
Values Group 1 Group 2 Mean difference Pvalue
Ethnic differences Accuracy P¯
asifika European .87 .007
asifika M¯
aori 1.41 <.001
Communication P¯
asifika European .96 .001
asifika M¯
aori 1.17 .002
Fami ly P ¯
asifika Asian 1.47 .038
asifika European 1.25 <.001
asifika M¯
aori .99 .008
Recall P¯
asifika European .79 .008
asifika M¯
aori 1.34 <.001
Gender differences Family females males .78 .024
Practice females males .49 .008
Respect females males .63 .007
Risk taking females males .31 .001
Utility females males .38 .006
503) =7.60, p=.012 signicantly higher than males. No signicant dierences were
observed across grades.
5. Discussion
In this article, we sought to examine what culturally diverse middle school students valued
as most important when learning mathematics. We drew on a survey design incorporating
value statements with a key focus on those mathematics education values that were rated as
most and least important and how these values diered across ethnicity, gender and grade
level. In the following sections we expand on the two research questions and discuss the
key ndings in greater detail.
5.1. The most and least important mathematics values overall
Our rst research question explored the relative importance of fourteen mathematics
education values. Earlier studies both in New Zealand and internationally indicate these
fourteen mathematics education values are valued to some extent by students in other class-
rooms (e.g. Averill & Clark, 2012;Seahetal.,2017;Seah&Wong,2012). In the study
reported in this article, across the whole sample the values respect, teacher explanations
and risk taking were rated most important and mathematical accuracy as least important.
These three top rated values (i.e. respect, teacher explanation and risk-taking) all had less
variability and were skewed to the higher end of the scale when compared to all other val-
ues, further supporting the importance of these values. The fourteen values in our survey
can be interpreted as ‘instrumental’ values, that when fullled can serve higher ‘ultimate’
values (Tiberius, 2018). For instance, students’ valuing of respect for and from their teacher;
also having a safe classroom climate to support risk-taking, might each serve the ultimate
valuing of positive relationships. Similarly, teacher explanations may serve the ultimate
valuing of positive relationships (i.e. valuing support), and/or learning competency (i.e.
explanations promote mathematical understanding). Typically, mathematics teaching has
often been more focused on developing academic skills and competency rather than cul-
tivating relationships. However, quality relationships are one of the strongest predictors
of wellbeing, an important aspect of learning across the curriculum, given that quality
relationships result in connections where individuals feel valued, respected and supported
(Kern, 2021;Seligman,2011).
Specic to mathematics education, previous research studies have highlighted that mid-
dle school students often cite positive classroom relationships as the highest contributor to
their wellbeing in mathematics (Clarkson et al., 2010;Hill,Kern,vanDriel,etal.,2021).
Also, perceived teacher support, warmth, or enthusiasm predicts students positive emo-
tions (e.g. enjoyment) towards mathematics; higher mathematical engagement and eort;
greater belongingness; self-ecacy; and lower feelings of hopelessness (Attard, 2013;Mur-
ray, 2011; Rimm-Kaufman et al., 2015; Sakiz et al., 2012;Winbergetal.,2014). Student
beliefs, attitudes and values towards mathematics have been reported as most impacted by
the relationships students have with their mathematics teachers (Grootenboer & Marsh-
man, 2015; Riconscente, 2014). Students often equate ‘good’ mathematics teachers with
those who provide clear, systemic and detailed explanations that specially address stu-
dents needs (Anthony, 2013; Österling et al., 2015;Seah&Peng,2012). Our ndings
highlight specic areas which can potentially improve students experience in the math-
ematics classroom and can be built upon for responsive pedagogy. Given that the most
highly rated values mapped with positive relationships, teachers might specically tar-
get relational pedagogy or classroom practices which build on these student values as a
In contrast, accuracy was rated the least important value overall. This does not negate
ratings of risk-taking, practice and persistence which generally coincide with mathemati-
cal problem solving and learning from mistakes. The lower importance of accuracy aligns
with ndings from earlier studies also in New Zealand. For example, both Hill (2017)and
Hunter (2021) reported New Zealand students valued learning from mistakes over accu-
2021, p. 14). For mathematics educators, identifying that students rated accuracy lower in
their values related to mathematics learning is important as it then provides an opportu-
nity to further investigate this area with students. For example, teachers may facilitate a
discussion with students related to when accuracy is important within mathematics while
still acknowledging the benets of risk-taking, solving problems through trial and error,
and learning from mistakes.
5.2. Group similarities and dierences in students’ mathematics education values
Our second research question explored similarities and dierences across demographic
groups for the fourteen mathematics educational values. Notably, respect was consistently
than all other values. Earlier studies (e.g. Averill & Clark, 2012;Hunter,2021)haveconsis-
tently shown respect, dened as reciprocal student-teacher respect between students and
the teacher, as an important value to successfully learn mathematics for M¯aori and P¯asik¯a
students. However, it is interesting to also note the high rating of respect by European and
Asianstudentsasapreviousstudy(e.g.Hill,2017) found that European and Asian stu-
dentsrankedrespectasavalueoflowerimportancethantheirP¯asik¯aandM¯aori peers.
In this study the framing of respect in the value statement (see Table 2)indicatedreciprocal
respect, and interestingly, the ndings indicate that the valuing of respect in the mathemat-
ics classroom transcended both cultural and demographic groups. In recent years, in New
Zealand educational settings there has been increasing recognition of the importance of
developing pedagogy both responsive and aligned with M¯aori and P¯asik¯aculturalvalues
(Berryman & Eley, 2017; MoE, 2013). Respect is one of the key values identied and this
high rating by students may be related to greater recognition in both schooling and wider
society of the importance of building on such values.
In terms of cultural dierences, we found that P¯asik¯a students rated family, commu-
nication, accuracy and recall as signicantly more important than other ethnicities. All
of these values have links to cultural values as well as social practices in family and com-
munity settings. P¯asik¯a culture is founded on collectivism with familial obligations and
support an integral part of everyday life and of central importance for Pacic people (MoE,
2018;Ueharaetal.,2018). Similarly, communication and the process of talanoa, sharing
ideas, telling stories and talking with others are important cultural practices (Johansson
Fua, 2014). The higher ratings of accuracy and recall are likely linked with family and com-
munity social practices related to attending church. Religious faith plays a signicant role
in P¯asik¯a communities with close to 70% of P¯asik¯afamiliesinNewZealandidentifying
as Christian (Stats NZ, 2018). A common practice for children in church is to rote learn and
orally present biblical readings where both accuracy and recall are highly valued (Dickie
&McDonald,2011). These ndings align with earlier research (Hill, 2017;Hunter,2021)
which noted an intersection between cultural values and mathematics education values.
All of these values have the potential for teachers to build upon them as strengths in rela-
tion to mathematics teaching and learning which is a means to address student wellbeing
and issues of equity.
Interestingly, overall P¯asik¯astudents’ratingsofvalueswereparticularlyskewed
towards being important rather than not important, more than the other ethnicities. For
instance, the mean rating for accuracy (the least important value overall) was rated 7.22
outof10fortheP¯asik¯a students compared to a mean of 5.76 for the M¯aori students,
6.34 for European and 7.83 for Asian students. Other studies point to P¯asik¯aandAsian
New Zealand students reporting more positive attitudes towards mathematics than other
ethnicities (Bonne, 2016). The higher rating of values by P¯asik¯astudentsinthisstudy
potentially indicates higher positive aect towards mathematics learning. An area of fur-
ther research could be the relationship between rating of values and disposition towards
mathematics. We also noted dierences in gender with females valuing family, practice,
respect, risk-taking and utility signicantly more than males. Female students emphasiz-
ing the pro-social and collaborative aspects of mathematics aligns with previous studies
(Barkatsas et al., 2019;Wong,1995). However, in contrast to our results, earlier studies
pard et al., 2015) and males value problem-solving processes, eort and practising more
than females in mathematics education (Barkatsas et al., 2019). Incongruencies between
the pedagogical values in mathematics and STEM courses and the values of females may
partly explain the under-representation of females in these disciplines. Conversely, con-
sidering and drawing on values that are important to females can potentially lead to more
balanced gender representation in mathematics and STEM elds. We argue that the results
from this study provide an indication of the type of values alignment that would potentially
be productive to address ongoing engagement and participation in mathematics. Further
longitudinal studies could be used to investigate these gender dierences in mathematics
education values and to investigate the potential of values alignment on participation in
mathematics education.
6. Limitations and future directions
Our study highlights some interesting ndings and also points to future directions for
in their wording which reduces the potential for students to interpret the same items (or
values) dierently. Additionally, survey methods can reduce the complexity of ephemeral
and subjective constructs (e.g. wellbeing, attitude, or values) into something tangible and
measurable, however, a downside of this is that important aspects of one’s experiences can
be overlooked (Kern, 2021). Whilst qualitative methodologies provide greater richness of
data than surveys, a core aim of this study was to explore cultural and ethnic dierences
other classrooms (e.g. Andersson & Österling, 2019;Hunter,2021;Seahetal.,2017). Thus,
we were more interested in the degree to which specic elements in mathematics learn-
ing were valued, and more importantly, how these same elements were valued dierently
across cultural groups. This has implications for culturally responsive teaching practices
which can result in more equitable learning outcomes in mathematics. Values are inher-
ently worthy and desirable to most people (Roccas et al., 2017) and students may perceive
values as broadly important even if they do not relate the importance to themselves speci-
cally (Gittelman et al., 2015). For instance, a student might value the utility of mathematics
as a subject, yet not value mathematics as useful for their lives personally. Social desirabil-
ity bias can be minimized by forcing students to rank rather than rate values (Roccas et al.,
2017). Further studies in New Zealand and internationally might consider both students
ranking, and rating of their mathematics education values.
Whilst our sample size was relatively sizable, we cannot generalize our ndings to stu-
dents from other schools or countries. Most students were M¯aori or P¯asik¯athusthe
relative importance of the fourteen values (i.e. research question one) likely reected the
ratings of the students from these cultures. We grouped students from Southern (e.g.
India), Southeastern (e.g. Cambodia) and Eastern Asia (e.g. China) together, however,
students from these countries are not homogenous and often espouse diverse cultural val-
ues. Future investigations might include a larger Asian sample size and dierentiate these
students by country or jurisdiction.
7. Conclusions
In conclusion, this article has highlighted that while there are similarities, there are also
signicant dierences in what culturally diverse middle school students value as most
important when learning mathematics. We contend that in order to develop more equi-
table mathematics learning environments, greater understanding of students’ mathematics
education values is needed across dierent demographic groups. The challenge here for
ing increasingly diverse. Educators need to be cognisant that students in their mathematics
classroom may have contrasting mathematics education values. Interestingly, we also noted
dierences in mathematics education values when analysing by gender.
Identifying students mathematics education values provides opportunities for educa-
tors to develop responsive types of pedagogies and to address student wellbeing (Tiberius,
2018). For instance, a mathematics student who values personalized learning support and
solving dicult problems will likely feel good and engage more when they experience
one-to-one teacher support and are provided with challenging tasks. Whereas that stu-
dent might disengage with and feel disheartened when they lack teacher support, and they
perceive their mathematical tasks as easy. Conversely, in cases where mathematics edu-
cation values may be important but not necessarily valued by students, or students may
hold values that might be potentially disruptive in a learning environment, educators can
surface these and then openly discuss when these values may (or may not) be useful or
This article provides a contribution in relation to documenting the mathematics edu-
cation values of a diverse group of students within New Zealand and analysing dierences
in the mathematics education values according to dierent demographic aspects including
ethnicity, gender and grade. We view this as an important element in moving towards both
providing more equitable mathematics learning experiences for diverse students in New
Zealand and in other countries, and also a way in which we can begin to address wellbeing
in relation to mathematics teaching and learning.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Data availability statement
The data that support the ndings of this study are available on reasonable request from the corre-
sponding author (Julia Hill). The data are not publicly available due to them containing information
that could compromise research participant privacy.
Julia L. Hill
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Purpose This article investigates the mathematics educational values of Pāsifika students in New Zealand. It draws on student voice to examine Pāsifika students’ understanding of mathematics educational values and their reasons for rating values at different levels of importance. Design/Approach/Methods The study involved Years 7 and 8 Pāsifika students from two low-socioeconomic middle schools. Students selected their most and least important mathematics educational value statements on a survey. Semi-structured individual interviews were used to investigate their reasons for selecting the values. Findings The mathematics educational values ranked highly by the greatest percentage of students were practice, family, respect, and persistence. In contrast, the values of accuracy and utility were rated as least important. Student interview data revealed commonalities in accounting for the importance of different values. The findings indicate an intersection between the mathematics educational values and cultural values of Pāsifika people. Originality/Value There have been few studies that have explored the mathematics educational values of Pāsifika students. The current study provides insight into why specific values are important to Pāsifika students and how these may influence classroom interactions. The use of student interview data widens the existing literature focused on values in mathematics education.
Conference Paper
The students’ influence and responsibilities on content and learning pro�cesses are important objectives emphasised in all steering documents for Swedish education. However, results from a large-scale survey exploring what students find important for learning mathematics show that students may not value such openness in mathematics teaching and learning. We found that aligning teaching to students’ valuing would rather conserve a tradition of teacher authority. In this discussion essay, these results will be related to the obstacles teachers may experience when fulfilling educational objectives of students’ responsibility, participation, and influence on the planning of teaching and learning mathematics.
The purpose of this cross-sectional study (n = 43764 in four cohorts/ groups) is to uncover the values when learning mathematics that students at Religious Vocational Middle Schools (in Turkish: Imam-Hatip Middle Schools) where religious contexts and contents are taught intensively in Turkey. In this regard, the study investigates the mathematics educational values of students in Grades 5 through 8 at Imam-Hatip Middle Schools using a standardised questionnaire. MANOVA and post-hoc analyses have been performed to determine group differences. The results indicate the importance students give to the values of relevance, learning approach, consolidating, and practice to decrease as grade level increases; each grade of students emphasised the value of practice the most and the value of information and communications technology (ICT) the least. In this sense, it can be said that there is no clear connection between cultural context and mathematics educational values (for example, the order of importance given to practice and ICT values) in a school where religious content and context are intense when compared with value studies in different school cultures.
This chapter examines research dealing with the effects of beliefs and values on happiness, subjective wellbeing, and positive mental health. In regard to beliefs, the chapter discusses the effects of positive views, trust, forgiveness and gratitude, political persuasion, religious beliefs, and social axioms. Concerning values, the chapter discusses much of the research based on the Schwartz Values theory and specific research programs related to individualism-collectivism, secularism, and materialism.
The third, thoroughly revised and enhanced edition of this bestselling book analyses and discusses the most up-to-date research on the psychology of quality of life. The book is divided into six parts. The introductory part lays the philosophical and academic foundation of much of the research on wellbeing and positive mental health, showing the beneficial effects of happy people at work, health, and to society at large. Part 2 (effects of objective reality) describes how sociocultural factors, income factors, other demographic factors, and biological and health conditions affect wellbeing and positive mental health. Part 3 focuses on subjective reality and discusses how individuals process information from their objective environment, and how they manipulate this information that affects wellbeing and positive mental health. Part 4 focuses on the psychology of quality of life specific to life domains, while Part 5 reviews the research on special populations: children, women, the elderly, but also the disabled, drug addicts, prostitutes, emergency personnel, immigrants, teachers, and caregivers. The final part of the book focuses on theories and models of wellbeing and positive mental health that integrate and unify disparate concepts and programs of research. The book addresses the importance of the psychology of quality of life in the context of public policy and calls for a broadening of the approach in happiness research to incorporate other aspects of quality of life at the group, community, and societal levels. It is of topical interest to academics, students and researchers of quality of life, well-being research, happiness studies, psychotherapy, and social policy.
I discuss in this chapter the effects of goals on happiness, subjective wellbeing and positive mental health. The focus is on a variety of ways that people set their goals biased by goal valence (i.e., they set life goals that are high in positive valence). Goals with high positive valence can be set using meaningful goals, abstract goals, motivational goals, approach goals, goals associated with deprived needs, autonomous goals, and goals related to flow. They set goals that are likely to be met (high goal expectancy). They do so by choosing adaptable goals, goals that are congruent with cultural norms and personal motives and resources, goals that are realistic, and goals involving little or no role conflict. Also, they plan strategies and tactics that they execute to achieve their life goals. This is done by committing to goal attainment and persist goal pursuit in light of failure. Concrete thinking also plays an important role in goal implementation. Goal attainment results in increased levels of wellbeing and positive mental health. Goal attainment occurs through recognition of attainment and perception of progress.
This engaging open access book discusses how a values and valuing perspective can facilitate a more effective mathematics pedagogical experience, and allows readers to explore multiple applications of the values perspective across different education systems. It also clearly shows that teaching mathematics involves not only reasoning and feelings, but also students’ interactions with their cultural setting and each other. The book brings together the work of world leaders and new thinkers in mathematics educational research to improve the learning and teaching of mathematics. Addressing themes such as discovering hidden cultural values, a multicultural society and methodological issues in the investigation of values in mathematics, it stimulates readers to consider these topics in cross-cultural ways, and offers suggestions for research and classroom practice. It is a valuable resource for scholars of mathematics education, from early childhood through to higher education and an inspiring read for all mathematics teachers.