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Nature of an attitudes toward learning mathematics questionnaire
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Paper presented at the 35th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Incorporated (MERGA 2012) on "Mathematics education: Expanding horizons", Singapore, 2 – 6 July 2012
Students’ attitudes toward mathematics and its learning have been subject to numerous
studies in the past six decades. These studies treat such attitudes as both desirable learning
outcomes and correlates of mathematics achievement. Many Likert-type attitude scales have
been devised to measure significant constructs underlying mathematics-related attitudes,
such as confidence, anxiety, and utility of mathematics. The psychometric properties of these
attitude scales may be culture and age dependent. As part of a research project called
Singapore Mathematics Assessment and Pedagogy Project (SMAPP), an effort was made to
devise and validate an attitude toward learning mathematics scale that can be used with
lower secondary school students in Singapore. This paper explains the use of exploratory and
confirmatory factor analyses to reduce an initial 57-item questionnaire to one with 24 items
that cover these six dimensions: Checking solutions, Confidence, Enjoyment, Use of IT in
mathematics learning, Multiple solutions, and Usefulness of mathematics. The data comprise
responses from about 890 Secondary 1 (Grade 7) students in 2010, who took the 57-item
questionnaire, and another 850 students who took the 24-item questionnaire in 2011. The
nature of the final questionnaire is discussed. This effort contributes to the continual effort to
devise validated attitude scales that are suitable for different cultures and student groups.
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