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Factors Predictive of Mathematics Achievement

Mathematics is wonderful logic, full of interesting patterns. It is the language of science and engineering. It opens the doors to higher- level job. No employment can be managed without arithmetic, no mechanical invention without geometry. - Benjamin Franklin. Mathematics is a necessity for every one it is not possible to live in the modern world without making some use of mathematics. Mathematics is helpful to assist students build up required skills for lifetime education. It is a prevailing wealth of communication, a means for studying other disciplines that help students to expand their capacity to value the beauty of nature, think rationally and construct sound judgments.

Achieve's research shows that advanced level mathematics courses such as Algebra II develop entrance to postsecondary learning, are vital for college accomplishment and are significant to many careers. Students that complete such coursework are not only ready for work, they can be able to earn higher salaries and provide a better future for themselves. Many alternative students and girls, of all races and ethnicities, lack access to higher math classes or are discouraged from enrolling in them. . ( Slover, 2008) Slover,L .Vice President, Achieve, Inc (2008) .Hearing on The National Mathematical Advisory Panel Report.)

Today, you can no longer drop out of school and land on job that pays a living wage. America needs the abilities and talents of all its children to succeed and thrive. If we help our children , we strengthen our nation. We must recognize that America's achievement gap hurts not just the children who are cheated of a quality education but the nation itself. (Secretary Arne Duncan,2010) .Secretary Arne Duncan.(2010) Crossing the next bridge Retrieved March,16 2010 from

According to Slavin 2008 "The mathematics achievement of America's middle and high school students is an issue of great concern to policymakers as well as educators. Many believe that secondary math achievement is a key predictor of a nation's long term economic potential . Mathematics performance in American middle and high schools is not primarily a problem of comparisons to other countries, however, but more a problem within the U.S. There are enormous differences between the performance of white and middle class students and that of minority and disadvantaged students, and the gap is not diminishing. Clearly to advance in mathematics achievement, we must improve the quality of math instruction received by all students. What tools do we have available to intervene in middle and high schools to significantly improve their mathematics outcomes? Which textbooks, technology applications, and professional development approaches are known to be effective?( Slavin 2008 )(Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., & Groff, C. (2009), Effective programs in middle and high school mathematics a best evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research

As the President Obama stated in the Blue Print Reform ," Every child in America deserves a world-class education. Today, more than ever, a world-class education is a prerequisite for success. America was once the best educated nation in the world. A generation ago, we led all nations in college completion, but today, 10 countries have passed us. It is not that their students are smarter than ours. It is that these countries are being smarter about how to educate their students. And the countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. This effort will require the skills and talents of many, but especially our nation's teachers, principals, and other school leaders. Our goal must be to have a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every school. We must recognize the importance of communities and families in supporting their children's education, because a parent is a child's first teacher. We must support families, communities, and schools working in partnership to deliver services and supports that address the full range of student needs. This is a framework to guide our deliberations and shared work - with parents, students, educators, business and community leaders, elected officials, and other partners - to strengthen America's public education system." President Obama,B( A Blue Print fro Reform , The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act( United State Department of Education March 2010).

Now it is up to us, as parents, teachers , leaders, and every individual in the communities to fix the problems that face our nation by providing the support ,the tools to help our children compete in today's world. Research shows that the child develops 90 percent of its size by age 5 year. Children may drop in both educational and intellectual if they are not exposing to the right kinds of inspiration. Sadly, this gap only becomes larger as children grow older. Students may fall behind in both academic and social skills if they are not exposed to the right method of instruction at the right time in their life.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated "Finally, we're also seeking $1.8 billion dollars to support students by encouraging community engagement and support and exposure to other positive adults. Teachers cannot do it alone. They need parents, community leaders, social service agencies and other supportive adults in the schools helping to reinforce a culture of learning and respect. A parent is a child's first teacher. We need to work together to continue that legacy and deliver a world-class education for every child."

Testimony, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan March 17, 2010.

It takes a village to raise a child is an admired maxim with an obvious message: the whole neighborhood has a vital responsibility to engage in the growth , improvement and development of its people.

Student accomplishment in mathematics is affected by many factors that can establish, preserve, support or discourage performance and academic achievement, include the individual attribute interests, curiosity and responsibility. One of the main factors is teacher influence and method and quality of instruction . Other major factors are Parent Support, Peer Influence, Community Influence, student's Self Expectation and school environment. My report will illustrate the connection between important variables that affect on mathematics achievement.

Until the 1960s it was understood that schools and teachers didn't contribute totally toward student accomplishment, which was mostly defined by genetics, family background and socioeconomic. Hattie and his colleagues direct and analyse a meta-analysis of further than 500,000 studies and discover that the student contribute for about 50% of the variance in learning. Homes and family can relate for 5 to 10%, schools 5 to 10%, and peers 5 to 10%. However, teacher responsible for about 30% of the variance in student achievement. Accordingly, there has been a major concentration on education, instruction, and quality teaching and teacher accomplishment from the late 1980s to the Today. Hattie, J. (2003). New Zealand

Education Snapshot with specific reference to the Yrs 1-13 Years Knowledge Wave 2003the leadership forum February 2003

Approximately 27 percent of all the children in the United States drop out of public

School before high school graduation. That mean 1.2 million teenagers are leaving our schools for the streets (Secretary of State. Aren Dunk, March, 2010). Many teachers believe and agree that school achievement of our children is below their abilities they indicate that Japanese children emphasize on effort more than ability. . (Wlodkowski & Jaynes, 1990) wlodkowski, J.R., &Jaynes, H.J (1990) Eager to Learn. San Francisco: Oxford.

High motivation in learning has always been linked to reduced dropout rates and improved level of students' success. There are many factors that add to student' concern and level of dedication in education and teachers have little power over many of those factors. Research has revealed that teachers affect on student motivation and mathematics achievement. (Brewster.C &Fager .J ,2000). Brewster.C &Fager .J (2000). Student Engagement and Motivation. Northwest Education Laboratory.

The McKinsey report cites many studies that support the conclusion that the quality of the teacher has more to do with student outcome than any other variable .it state "Ten years ago, seminal research based on data from Tennessee showed that if two average eight-year-old students were given different teachers - one of them a high performer, the other a low performer - their performance diverge by more than 50 percentile points within three years ... By way of comparison, the evidence shows that reducing class sizes from 23 to 15 students improves the performance of an average student by eight percentile points at best. Another study, this time in Dallas, shows that the performance gap between students assigned three effective teachers in a row, and those assigned three ineffective teachers in a row, was 49 percentile points. In Boston, students placed with top-performing math teachers made substantial gains, while students placed with the worst teachers regressed - their math got worse" (McKinsey & Co., 2007: 12). How the World's best Performing School System Come Out on Top. Mckinsey and Company.2007

What quality teaching looks like

"To love one's children is to be in complete communication with them: it is to see that They have the right kind of education that will help them to be sensitive, intelligent and integrated" ( Krishnamurti, 2001)

Research on teacher performance and capability concentrate on relating teacher attitude and behavior to student performance. Teachers are truly believed that all students can learn... They work collaboratively with other staff members and possessed the following attributes

  • A high level of understanding, imagination, enthusiasm, and belief in and for their field.
  • Makes student education the main focus of concentration and attention.
  • A full understanding of the framework in which they are working.
  • Teacher makes the lesson fun, using humor whenever possible.
  • Teacher has high expectation of what his or her pupils can achieve.
  • Teacher gives clear, precise descriptions, explanations and instructions
  • Models the kinds of understanding and wisdom that students should look for to expand and develop in good judgment and knowledge.
  • Continues to learn from experience teachers, administrators and students to grow in knowledge of course content and pedagogy.

Accordingly, the most important depend not so much in identifying and describing excellence and quality teaching but in increasing these capacities in more teachers and schools (Darling-Hammond & Baratz-Snowden, 2005).Darling-Hammond, L. & J. Baratz-Snowden. (2005). A Good Teacher in Every Classroom: Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers our Children Deserve. SanFrancisco, CA Volume 4, Issue 1 - 2006


The most important motive for work in the school and in life is the pleasure in work, pleasure in its result and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community - Albert Einstein.

According to Peggy Tsang, educators need to establish into their lessons number of strategies which have been revealed to have a constructive influence on students' motivation. Among theories and approaches to student motivation, several undertake the problem from a psychological viewpoint and other from a physiological point of view. Here is a brief overview.


Behavioral Theory: learning motivation is a product of strengthening. Learners who have been rewarded for knowledge.

Humanistic Theory: learning motivation is a fulfillment of needs and an effort to accomplish one's total potential as a person

Attribution Theory: learning motivation as a substance of how students perception for their precedent successes or failures. Students who point their success or failure to effort, rather than to their ability.

Expectation value theory: learning motivation is student' anticipation and have value for accomplishment. Learners will be more concerned in learning if they value and expect that they will be successful.


Brain -Based Learning: the use of different duties and actions, for example , incorporating progress and movement in learning and giving learners the state for proceed to experience and observe achievement, can adjust the natural production of different neurotransmitters. The brain's natural reward structure produces these chemicals every time a person experiences an achievement and as a result, the effectiveness of the mind will be enhanced.

Teachers can make a difference and all learners are motivated to learn under the correct circumstances. Teachers can present this environment in their classroom. More highly, teachers can support students' learning motivation in their classroom by representing personal qualities such as concern, care, passion and enthusiasm, and by demonstrate and communicate to student's constructive attitude about teaching and learning which are helpful to the produce a motivating environment. In sustaining and supporting learning motivation, teachers can make a difference. After all motivation is a key factor for mathematics achievement.

Students' peer groups in high school

The values of companion can play a significant part in students' culture.

The power of peers can be both helpful and harmful. On the constructive side, it can serve as an essential motivation for adolescents to achieve vigorous in school. On the unconstructive side, peer influence can guide to discipline problems. Meaningful relationships with peers promote life skills for children and will be related to academic achievement and motivation (cauce 1986) social network and social competence: explaining the effect of early adolescent friendships..America Journal of community psychology, 14. Some peer groups apply negative peer pressure to those who excel academically. (cauce, 1986)Researchers have argued that negative peer pressure has served to discourage students from conforming to values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that raise achievement. For example, the social disapproval or negative peer pressure experienced by some students might lead to dropping out of school (Nichols& white, 2001) Beliefs of intelligence, knowledge Acquisition, and motivational orientation: a comparative analysis of Hispanic/Latino and Anglo youth: The official journal of the National Association for multicultural education.

The influence of peers can be both positive and negative. On the positive side, it can serve as an important incentive for adolescents to perform well in school. On the negative side, peer influence can lead to discipline problems. Meaningful relationships with peers promote life skills for children and will be related to academic achievement and motivation (cauce 1986). However, some peer groups apply negative peer pressure to those who excel academically (cauce, felner and primavera 1982). Researchers have argued that negative peer pressure has served to discourage students from conforming to values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that raise achievement. For example, the social disapproval or negative peer pressure experienced by some students might lead to dropping out of school (Nichols& white, 2001)

Parental school involvement and student achievement

Many researches have shown that students perform better academically when parents are involved with their child's school. Parental involvement is the leading indicator of school success. Parents' income level and educational background, the research finds, are less important for student success than parental interest and encouragement.

The family is the first and most important influence on a child's character. The school's job is to reinforce the positive character values (work ethic, respect, responsibility, honesty etc.) being taught at home. The reality, of course, is often otherwise: Many parents today aren't fulfilling their primary role in character formation.

Further in the thesis I will discuss in detail the following:

  • Lumsden, L.S (1994). Student motivation to learn (Eric Digest No. 92). Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED 370 200