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ERIC Number: EJ1118464
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2167-8693
Exploring the Role of Social Reasoning and Self-Efficacy in the Mathematics Problem-Solving Performance of Lower- and Higher-Income Children
Butler, Allison G.
Journal of Educational Research and Practice, v3 n1 p93-119 2013
Research documents an income-based achievement gap in mathematics, yet children from lower-income backgrounds do not lag behind their more advantaged peers in high-level social reasoning tasks. The purpose here was to investigate whether modifying mathematics word problems to make them more socially based would impact the mathematics performance and/or mathematics self-efficacy of lower- versus higher-income children. Research questions regarding (1) the relative difficulty of symbolic equations versus word problems, (2) the impact of socially modifying word problems on children's accuracy and self-efficacy, and (3) the relation between children's mathematics performance and mathematics self-efficacy were explored. Participants were 164 5th graders. Children completed a mathematics problem-solving test comprised of multiplication problems representing four different problem formats (two social, two abstract). Three types were word problems, and one was a symbolic (abstract) presentation. The three word problem types were everyday activity (social), social-cognitive (social), and traditional textbook (abstract). Participants also completed a mathematics self-efficacy measure. Children performed better on symbolic problems than on any of three word problem types. The lower-income group performed better on innovative social-cognitive word problems than on decontextualized word problems. Word problem variations did not have an effect for the higher-income group. Overall, mathematics self-efficacy was shown to predict mathematics performance. While problem format is only one aspect of a highly complex instructional system, findings suggest that capitalizing on social-cognitive strengths in mathematics may be valuable for improving the academic achievement of lower-income children.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A