Mathematics Education Research Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 33–47 | Cite as

A trend study of self-concept and mathematics achievement in a cross-cultural context

  • Jianjun Wang


The TIMSS 1995, 1999, and 2003 data have been gathered from Hong Kong before and after its sovereignty switch from the United Kingdom to China in 1997. Built on a reciprocal relation theory from the research literature, this investigation is designed to examine models of student self-concept and mathematics achievement during the political transition. Along with a perceived ‘brain drain’ from the population migration, there was a non-monotonic change in the reciprocal relationship between self-concept and mathematics achievement. In addition, indicators of mathematics achievement and self-concept have demonstrated different linkages to the permanent emigration of Hong Kong residents with valued or desirable skills and qualifications. Interpretation of these empirical findings entails a need of enhancing cross-cultural understanding in mathematics education.


Parental Education Mathematics Achievement Brain Drain American Educational Research Association Parental Education Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, N. L., Carlson, J. E., & Zelenak, C. A. (1999).The NAEP technical 1996 technical report. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, M., & Sani, F. (2004). Introduction: Children and social identity. In M. Bennett & F. Sani (Eds.),The development of the social self. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bracey, G. (1998). About those private school achievements.Phi Delta Kappan, 79, 629–630.Google Scholar
  4. Bracey, G. (2006). How to avoid statistical traps.Educational Leadership, 63(8), 78–82.Google Scholar
  5. Bray, M. (1997). Education and colonial transition: The Hong Kong experience in comparative perspective.Comparative Education, 33(2), 157–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Breckler, S. J., & Greenwald, A. G. (1986). Motivational facets of the self. In E. T. Higgins & R. Sorrentino (Eds.),Handbook of motivation and cognition (pp. 145–164). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  7. Byrne, B. (1984). The general/academic self-concept nomological network: A review of construct validation research.Review of Educational Research, 54(3), 427–456.Google Scholar
  8. Byrne, B. M., & Shavelson, R. J. (1986). On the structure of adolescent self-concept.Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(6), 474–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Craven, R. G., Marsh, H. W., & Burnett, P. (2003, November).Breaking the self-concept enhancement conundrum: Re-conceptualising the next generation of self-concept enhancement research. Paper presented at NZARE AARE, Auckland, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  10. Eccles, J. S., & Harold, R. D. (1993). Parent-school involvement during the early adolescent years.Teachers College Record, 94 (3), 568–588.Google Scholar
  11. Engler, J. M., Hunt, J., & James B. (2004). Preparing our students for work and citizenship in the global age.Phi Delta Kappan, 86(3), 197–1199.Google Scholar
  12. Garson, G. D. (2005).Structural equation modeling. [Online] Retrieved January 17, 2006 from Scholar
  13. Gonzalez, E. J., & Smith, T. A. (1997).Users guide for the TIMSS international database. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS International Study Centre.Google Scholar
  14. Greenwald, A. G. (1982). Ego task analysis: A synthesis of research on ego-involvement and self-awareness. In A. H. Hastorf & A. M. Isen (Eds.),Cognitive social psychology (pp. 109–147). New York: Elsevier/North-Holland.Google Scholar
  15. Hau, K. T., Kong, C. K., Marsh, H. W., & Cheng, Z. J. (2000, April).Extension of the internal/external frame of reference model of self-concept formation: Importance of native and nonnative languages for Chinese students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
  16. James, W. (1890).Principles of psychology (Vol. 1). New York: Holt.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jöreskog, K. G. (1990). New developments in LISREL: Analysis of ordinal variables using polychoric correlations and weighted least squares.Quality and Quantity, 24, 387–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jöreskog, K. G., & Sorbom, D. (1993).LISREL 8: Structural equation modeling with the SIMPLIS command language. Chicago, IL: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  19. Jöreskog, K. G., Sörbom, D., Toit, S., & Toit, M. (2000).LISREL 8: New statistical features. Chicago, Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  20. Kifer, E. A. (2002). Students’ attitudes and perceptions. In D. F. Robataille & A. E. Beaton (Eds.),Secondary analysis of the TIMSS results: A Synthesis of current research. Boston, MA: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  21. Kingsley, B., & Shirley, L. (2000). Futures of Hong Kong English.World Englishes, 19(3), 429–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koo, R. D., Kam, M. C. K., & Choi, B. C. (2003). Education and schooling in Hong Kong: Under one country, two systems.Journal of the Association for Childhood Education International, 79(3), 137–144.Google Scholar
  23. Lau, I. C. Y., Yeung, A. S., Jin, P. (1998, November).The self-concepts of English among higher education students in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Hong Kong Educational Research Association, Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  24. Lau, P.W.C., Yu, C.W., Lee, A., So, R.C.H., & Sung, R. (2004). The relationship among physical fitness, physical education, conduct and academic performance of Chinese primary school children.International Journal of Physical Education, 12(1), 17–26.Google Scholar
  25. Lin, M. (2001). The Episcopalian women missionaries in nineteenth-century China: What did race, gender and class mean to their work.Dong Hwa Journal of Humanistic Studies, 3, 133–188.Google Scholar
  26. Loehlin, J. C. (1992).Latent variable models: An introduction to factor, path, and structural analysis (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Ma, X., & Kishor, N. (1997). Attitude toward self, social factors, and achievement in mathematics: Ameta-analytic review.Educational Psychology Review, 9(2), 89–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mar, P. (2002).Accommodating places: A migrant ethnography of two cities (Hong Kong and Sydney). Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Sydney, Australia. [Online] available at Scholar
  29. Marsh, H. W. (1990). A multidimensional hierarchical self-concept: Theoretical and empirical justification.Educational Psychology Review, 2(2), 77–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Marsh, H. W., & Craven, R. (1997). Academic self-concept: Beyond the dustbowl. In G. Phye (Ed.),Handbook of classroom assessment: Learning, achievement, and adjustment (pp. 131–198). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Marsh, H. W., Hau, K. T., & Kong, C. K. (2002). Multilevel causal ordering of academic self-concept and achievement: Influence of language of instruction (English compared with Chinese) for Hong Kong students.American Educational Research Journal, 39(3), 727–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marsh, H. W., Trautwein, U., Ludtke, O., Koller, O., & Baumert, J. (2005). Academic self-concept, interest, grades, and standardized test scores: Reciprocal effects models of causal ordering.Child Development, 76(2), 397–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Martin, A., & Debus, R. L. (1998). Self-reports of mathematics self-concept and educational outcomes: The roles of ego-dimensions and self-consciousness.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 68(4), 517–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Martin, M. O., Mullis, I. V. S., Gonzalez, E. J., & Chrostowski, S. J. (2004).Findings from IEA’s Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study at the fourth and eighth grades. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Centre, Boston College.Google Scholar
  35. Mead, G. H. (1913). The social self.Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, 10(14), 374–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mondejar, R. (2001).The future is now: Hong Kong & China in 1997. [Online] Retrieved July, 2, 2005 from Scholar
  37. Nakagawa, K. (2000). Unthreading the ties that bind: Questioning the discourse of parent involvement.Educational Policy, 14(4), 443–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1998).Principles and standards of school mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.Google Scholar
  39. Orr, E., & Dinur, B. (1995). Actual and perceived parental social status: Effects on adolescent self-concept.Adolescence, 30(119), 603–616.Google Scholar
  40. Pena, D. C. (2000). Parent involvement: Influencing factors and implications.The Journal of Educational Research, 94(1), 42–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rao, N., & Yuen, M. (2001). Accommodations for assimilation: Supporting newly arrived children from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong.Childhood Education, 77(5), 313–318.Google Scholar
  42. Schumacker, R. E., & Lomax, R. G. (1996).A beginner’s guide to structural equation modeling. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  43. Sharma, S. (1996).Applied multivariate techniques. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  44. Shavelson, R. J., Hubner, J. J., & Stanton, G. C. (1976). Self-concept: Validation of construct interpretations.Review of Educational Research, 46(3), 407–441.Google Scholar
  45. Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2006).Self-concept and self-efficacy in mathematics: Relation with mathematics motivation and achievement. Proceedings of the International Conference on Learning Sciences, Bloomington, Indiana. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.findarticles.comGoogle Scholar
  46. The Department of Immigration & Multicultural Affairs. (2000).Community profiles. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  47. Valentine, J. C., Dubois, D. L., & Cooper, H. (2004). The relations between self-beliefs and academic achievement: A systematic review.Educational Psychologist, 39(2), 111–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Walshaw, M. (2007).Working with Foucault in education. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  49. Wang, J. (2001). TIMSS primary and middle school data: Some technical concerns.Educational Researcher, 30(6), 17–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wang, D. B. (2004). Family background factors and mathematics success: Acomparison of Chinese and US students.International Journal of Educational Research, 41(1), 40–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wang, J. (2004, April).Self-concept and mathematics achievement: Modeling the relationship under the language pressure in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  52. Wang, J. (2005, April).An empirical study of gender difference in the relationship between self-concept and mathematics achievement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Montreal, Canada.Google Scholar
  53. Wang, J., & Brie, R. (1997, March).An empirical study of sibling effect on student science achievement in the People’s Republic of China. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Chicago, IL. Wang, J., Oliver, S., & Garcia, A. (2004, April).An empirical study of relationships between student self-concept and science achievement in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  54. Wilkins, J. L. M., Zembylas, M., & Travers, K. J. (2002). Investigating correlates of mathematics and science literacy in the final year of secondary school. In D. F. Robataille & A. E. Beaton (Eds.),Secondary analysis of the TIMSS results: A synthesis of current research. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  55. Wilkins, J. L. M. (2004). Mathematics and science self-concept: An international investigation.The Journal of Experimental Education, 72(4), 331–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wong, K.C., Lam, Y. R., & Ho, L. M. (2002). The effects of schooling on gender differences.British Educational Research Journal, 28(6), 827–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yam, J. (1999, June).Hong Kong and Asia: From crisis to opportunity. Paper presented at the Sixth Far Eastern Economic Review Conference, Hong Kong.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianjun Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Advanced Educational StudiesCalifornia State UniversityBakersfieldUSA

Personalised recommendations