Mathematics is a very important subject for a person’s prosperity in the society. Many studies conducted over time reveal that students are more likely to perform substantially in mathematics if they are actively supported by both teachers and parents (Lamb & Fullarton, 2002; Patall, Cooper & Robinson, 2008). However, global patterns of mathematics performance reinforce the conviction that the subject continues to present a lot of challenges to students regardless of the many inputs intended to uplift its standards.
Not only must students deal with a wide array of mathematical skills such as the computation of decimals, percentages, fractions, and algebra to accomplish basic and compounded tasks, but must also understand the fundamental numerical concepts in order to be successful in their day-to-day educational and private activities, in addition to their work place environment later on in life (Grouws, 1992). Research has also constantly revealed that many learners develop a poor attitude towards the subject, and are not convinced about their mathematical inclination to solve problems.
The main purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics due to the teachers’ support and the involvement of parents. The study will investigate the factors related to teaching and the positive interaction between teachers and students towards performance in mathematics. In addition, this paper will explore the ideal interrelationship between teachers and parents that can be effective in enhancing students’ performance in mathematics.
Past research studies have shown that teachers who have experience of negative attitude towards mathematics tend to carry it on in their teaching. On the other hand, studies have shown that a parent’s attitude towards mathematics has an impact on their children’s learning of mathematics. Children who come from homes where parents have an interest in mathematics are more likely to exhibit the same behaviour in school.
Focus of the Study
After doing a research study on pre-service teachers’ attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics, I was to explore the relationship between teachers’ support and the parents’ involvement to their children’s mathematics education to that of the child’s performance in mathematics. Thus, in the previous research it was clear that teachers with negative attitudes and beliefs towards the mathematics subject are not very motivated in teaching the subject. Indeed, this negative attitude and beliefs is passed to their students unintentionally.
The previous research was a meta-analytic study and was not restricted to a particular country or context. The factors identified in the study were established from the thirty articles chosen for the research. Therefore, with the changing educational setting and cultural backgrounds, it is important to note that the factors identified in the study may not necessarily be the most crucial attitude and belief factors. Therefore, in this research study I would like to analyse PISA 2000 secondary data of Australia in exploring the relationship of students’ performance in mathematics with the teachers’ support and parents’ involvement.
Statement of the Problem
Several studies have shown that both teachers’ support and the parents’ involvement in children’s mathematics learning play a crucial role in the children’s achievement in mathematics. Zacharos, Koliopoulos, Dokimaki & Kassoumi (2007, p. 307) stated that “[t]eachers’ attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics and its instruction are often reflected in their educational practices and thus affect their students’ attitudes, interest and success in mathematics”. Michigan Department of Education posited that “the more intensely parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effects” (2002, p.1).
Regardless of the fact that knowledge in mathematics, especially arithmetic, is required in our day to day life, it has long been perceived by many as a difficult subject (Akinsola & Tella, 2007). Therefore, it is important to investigate the relationship between the support provided by the teachers and the parents’ involvement in children’s mathematics learning with the student’s achievement in mathematics. Thus, parents and teachers play a crucial role in shaping children’s educational achievement.
In order to explore the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics with the teachers’ support and parents’ involvement in children’s learning, the following questions are focused in this research.
- What is the relationship between students achievement in mathematics and teachers support?
- What is the relationship between student’s achievement in mathematics and the parent’s involvement?
- What are the factors that contribute to the student’s achievement in mathematical?
This research study focuses on the relationship between the student’s mathematics performance and the teachers’ support and parents’ involvement in children’s mathematics education. Therefore, the most significant research method that will be effective in acquiring the desirable result will be quantitative research.
The study will be utilizing PISA 2000 data for Australia. According to the manual, sources and methods from the PISA website, survey method is used to collect data from a wide area by selecting a representative sample of a large population using a “scientific sampling method”. Quantitative survey method is a significant research method because as Jones (2004) states “… unless human behaviours can be expressed in numerical terms, it cannot be accurately measured”. In addition, ‘[quantitative] procedures ensure that your [researcher’s] own personal biases and values do not influence the results’ (Creswell, 2008, p. 58). In contrast, qualitative method usually uses case studies by selecting few individuals which in most cases may not show the actual picture for the entire population.
The quantitative research method is composed of two main sub-methods, namely descriptive and inferential method. In this research, inferential method will be used to describe the respondents’ responses. Lane (2007) states “inferential statistics are used to draw inferences about a population from a sample”.
Inferential statistics are used for the testing of hypotheses to test the dependent variables with the independent variables in order to know the relationship between them (Lane, 2007; Wiersma, 1995). Creswell (2008) pointed out that inferential statistics are used when “analyzing data from a sample to draw conclusions about an unknown population” (p. 190).
Population and Sampling
As defined by Creswell (2008) population is, “a group of individuals who have the same characteristics” (p.151). This group is also referred to as the target population or the sampling frame (Creswell, 2008, p152). The population for the study include 15 year old students from Australia.
A sample is defined as a sub-group or “representative” of the population (Creswell, 2008; Wiersma 1995). Thus, the results of the sample group can be generalized to the population. Creswell suggests taking a larger sample in order to minimise the “potential error that the sample will be different from the population” (2008, p. 156). According to Lokan, Greenwood and Cresswell (2001, p. viii) a national random sample size of “6200 students from 321 Australian schools” from all regions participated in PISA2000.
The responses given in the data set will be assigned numerical values which are referred as scoring data (Creswell, 2008). The coded data will be analysed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and it will be represented in graphs.
There are two variables in this study, namely dependent variable (student performance in mathematics) and two independent variables (teacher support: the interest the teacher shows in student’s learning; the opportunity provided to students to express their opinions; teachers help rendered to students with their work and teaching continued till students understand the concept) and parent involvement: time spent by the family members with children’s homework).
Significance of the Study
Teacher’s support and parents involvement in children’s mathematics learning has a positive impact on student’s achievement in mathematics. The finding of this research study is significant for two major reasons;
This study would be very useful for parents and teachers to design and facilitate mathematics as a subject in such a way that it meets the needs of a cross-section of learners. The study would also identify the most critical factors that influence the students’ performance in mathematics. From this background, the necessary changes can be made to the curriculum to make the study of mathematics not only enjoyable to the learners but also to achieve greater success.
The knowledge of mathematics acts as foundation for learning many different subjects in an effective manner and to be happy and successful in normal life. Therefore information gathered in this study would be fundamental in the design of a model that would include factors that determine success in mathematics. It thus includes the support that is necessitated for students from both teachers’ and parents’ side.
A number of limitations that exist have to be highlighted in this study. First, the scope of the research analysis undertaken in this study is to explore the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics and the teachers’ support and parents’ involvement in the learning of mathematics. Because of time and financial constraints to carry out a study in Australia, the author focuses in analysing secondary data of PISA2000.
The purpose of the study is to inquire the relationship between student’s achievement in mathematics and the teachers’ support and parents’ involvement in the learning of the subject. It is important to note that the data used in this study is the secondary data of PISA 2000. Therefore, the factors obtained are from the questions given in the PISA questionnaire. However, it is important to note that these elements are not necessarily the most crucial in determining the relationship between teachers’ support and parents’ involvement in children’s achievement in mathematics.
As the same questionnaire is being used in all the countries involved in the PISA survey, there is also a possibility that the crucial factors would keep on varying from one country to another. This situation is a limitation because the exact factors that are used to find the relationship in the Australian context may not be accurately identified.
Last but not least, with the changing educational setting and cultural backgrounds, many other factors are likely to be behind student’s performance in mathematics. As the data used in this study was obtained eight years ago, there is a possibility that the results of this study may not show the actual picture of the present situation.
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