Relations between attitudes and performance in young children’s mathematics
DOWKER A., Cheriton O., Horton R., Mark W.
Most studies of children’s attitudes to mathematics have dealt with children in second grade or later, and have suggested that attitudes deteriorate, and anxiety increases with age. The present study investigated attitudes to mathematics in 67 English and 49 Chinese children at the end of their first year of school. The participants were given Thomas and Dowker’s (2000) Mathematics Attitude Questionnaire, which uses pictorial rating scales to assess primary school children’s mathematics anxiety, liking for mathematics, unhappiness at poor performance in mathematics, and self-rating in mathematics. They were also given the British Abilities Scales Basic Number Skills test. Attitudes were generally positive, though not more so than previously found for older primary school children. The Chinese children performed better in the arithmetic test and also rated themselves higher than the English children, but did not differ in other attitudes. Self-rating in mathematics and lack of unhappiness at poor performance were associated with better performance in the English group. There were no significant relations between attitudes and performance in the Chinese group. Implications of the findings are discussed.