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Title: Re-examining the factors of mathematical (in-)competency, using a multiple regression analysis of adults' learning journeys
Author: Brown, Eva
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Mathematical competency plays a significant role in academic, social and economic development. Yet, in spite of its importance, over half of Northern Ireland's adult population is struggling with using basic numeracy skills. Consequently, the scope of the current study was to identify the contributing factors to • mathematical (in-) competency by examining the adults' learning journeys. A case study based on a further and higher education college in Northern Ireland was conducted and information was collected in two stages: firstly, through a number of focus-group interviews and secondly, through an online survey completed by 684 adults. The analysis of the data clearly indicated that neither gender nor socio-economic status played a significant role in the formation of maths competency nor would they be reliable predictors of future enrolment in maths courses. However, the logistic regression analysis indicated that the most important contributors to mathematical (in-) competency are personological factors such as self-concept, self-efficacy, view of maths; parental investments; and the perceived expectations of primary and secondary school teachers. These findings make a contribution to the existing literature in several ways: firstly, they confirm that subject-specific personological factors are formed at the outset of a learning journey and are not subject to significant change over time; secondly, they indicate that teachers' pedagogical content knowledge plays a less important role than their attitude towards their students; thirdly, adults view their parents' contribution as impacting more on their math development than even their own efforts The current study has some direct implications for teachers, parents and educational leaders. Given the pivotal role school teachers play in the formation of maths self-concept, self-efficacy and maths views, it is important that strategies which foster the development of positive personological values receive more attention. Parental investment is also pivotal in mathematical attainment. Educational leaders should encourage the inclusion of pro-active parents in intra and extra-curricular maths related activities and organise support for those parents who would not be mathematically confident. An example of such support would be the development of family learning projects, where parents and children can build mathematical capital together.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available