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A Comparative Study of Finland and Chile: the Culture-Dependent Significance of the Individual and Interindividual Levels of the Mathematics-Related Affect

An Erratum to this article was published on 12 May 2016


Mathematics-related affect is established regarding both individual and interindividual levels. However, the interaction between the levels has not been elaborated. Furthermore, it is known that people may draw either from intrinsic or extrinsic experiences to construct their identities depending on their cultural environment. Thus, affective individual and interindividual levels seem to interact with culture. In this study we focus on the significance of and the interaction between the individual and the interindividual levels of affect. This is done with respect to 2 different types of countries (Finland and Chile) to include cultural effect. We use questionnaire-based data and pupils’ drawings of their mathematics class to find out about their individual and interindividual experiences. By using mixed data, we are not only getting a wider picture of pupils’ affect but we can also avoid the most typical errors made in the cross-cultural comparisons as the pupils’ own voice is strengthened. The main finding in the study is that the 2 affective levels are not congruent and that the incongruence appears differently in different types of cultures.

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  1. In the previous PISA evaluation, the type of culture (collectivist/independent) seemed not to relate to the degree of correlation between mathematical achievement and intrinsic motivation, neither the degree of correlation between mathematical achievement and extrinsic (“instrumental”) motivation. However, this might be explained by the fact that the correlation was categorically higher regarding students that were high achievers compared with lower-achieving students (OECD, 2010a), as the countries that achieved well in that PISA test had high correlations between both types of motivation and performance independent of the type of the countries’ culture.

  2. The Gini index (or Gini ratio or Gini coefficient) is a measure of the inequality of income distribution in a country; a value of 0 expressing perfect equality where everyone has equal shares of income and a value of 1 expressing maximal inequality where only one person has all the income.


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Correspondence to Laura Tuohilampi.


Appendix 1

Table 6 The distributions of the categories in the examined Chilean classes

Appendix 2

Table 7 The distributions of the categories in the examined Finnish classes

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Tuohilampi, L., Laine, A., Hannula, M.S. et al. A Comparative Study of Finland and Chile: the Culture-Dependent Significance of the Individual and Interindividual Levels of the Mathematics-Related Affect. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 14, 1093–1111 (2016).

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  • Collectivist cultures
  • Cultural comparison
  • Cultural significances
  • Individual cultures
  • Mathematics-related affect