# PREDICTING MATHEMATICS ACHIEVEMENT: THE INFLUENCE OF PRIOR ACHIEVEMENT AND ATTITUDES

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## ABSTRACT

Achievement in mathematics is inextricably linked to future career opportunities, and therefore, understanding those factors that influence achievement is important. This study sought to examine the relationships among attitude towards mathematics, ability and mathematical achievement. This examination was also supported by a focus on gender effects. By drawing on a sample of Australian secondary school students, it was demonstrated through the results of a multivariate analysis of variance that females were more likely to hold positive attitudes towards mathematics. In addition, the predictive capacity of prior achievement and attitudes towards mathematics on a nationally recognised secondary school mathematics examination was shown to be large (*R* ^{2} = 0.692). However, when these predictors were controlled, the influence of gender was non-significant. Moreover, a structural equation model was developed from the same measures and subsequent testing indicated that the model offered a reasonable fit of the data. The positing and testing of this model signifies growth in the Australian research literature by showing the contribution that ability (as measured by standardised test results in numeracy and literacy) and attitude towards mathematics play in explaining mathematical achievement in secondary school. The implications of these results for teachers, parents and other researchers are then considered.

## KEY WORDS

achievement attitudes gender issues mathematics structural equation modelling## Preview

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