Exploring changes in pupil motivation and attitudes towards mathematics as pupils move up through one secondary school

Hosking, Charlotte (2022) Exploring changes in pupil motivation and attitudes towards mathematics as pupils move up through one secondary school. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

2059 Hosking Charlotte (2022) PhD Exploring changes in pupil motivation and attitudes towards mathematics as pupils move up through one secondary school_.pdf - Accepted Version
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The UK is not alone in facing a mathematics crisis with falling levels of functional mathematics skills, reduced attainment and declining numbers choosing to study mathematics post-sixteen. Mathematics often generates negative emotions and motivation should be improved to increase engagement, attainment, and post-sixteen participation. This study aims to explore the changes, and identify the factors, which impact the motivation and attitudes of pupils towards mathematics, as they move up through one study secondary school in an area where there is secondary selection. A mixed methods pragmatic design allowed for the use of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the research aims. 123 year 6 and 141 year 9 pupils completed a questionnaire in the summer term and participated in focus groups involving open questions and cartoon pictures. The research was repeated the following year after key transition points, at the end of year 7 and 10, respectively. Throughout the academic year regular interviews were held with mathematics staff to give a varied perspective on the reasons behind any motivation or attitude changes. To synthesise the range of data, factors with different dimensions: personal, system and general, were collated and discussed along with the interaction between them. The implications for understanding mindset are also discussed. Staff views illuminate an unintentional, but not unknown tension between knowing ways in which the pupil experience could be improved, and the constraints staff feel are preventing them from enacting these changes. This research gives a complex and deep insight into the range of factors such as mathematics anxiety, grouping by prior attainment and pupil experiences, which contribute to the decline in motivation and attitude witnessed in the study school. These factors have been presented in a pupil model which allows us to understand the complex experience of the learner and the complexity and interrelationship of the factors. As a teacher researcher, I have provided a voice for the constraints on staff in the department and a voice for the pupils, illuminating how the staff lack agency and autonomy, apparent victims of a system. This study identifies levers for pupils, staff and policy makers, that may be pulled into play to empower the department to implement the changes to their pedagogy which they themselves identified would help to stave off the witnessed decline in motivation and attitude towards mathematics.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Motivation, attitude, secondary school, mathematics, study school
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Charlotte Hosking
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 10:23
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2022 10:23
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/2059

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