1 + 1 Is Not Always 2: Variation in the Relations Between Mathematics Self-Efficacy Development and Longitudinal Mathematics Achievement Growth
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Creating an educational program that results in positive post-secondary and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-oriented outcomes for all students is a national goal and federal policy directive. Recent research has shown that in addition to measures of academic proficiency, intra- and interpersonal skills are important factors in college and career readiness. Likewise, mathematics proficiency is an important skill for successful STEM outcomes and post-secondary success, but these achievements and outcomes frequently vary based on demographic characteristics. This study utilized data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 to examine the relationships between mathematics achievement growth in Grades K-1 and Grades 3-8, mathematics self-efficacy development in Grades 3-8, and demographic factors including sex, socioeconomic status (SES), and race/ethnicity. Various models of mathematics achievement growth were tested, and the relationships between both early and middle grades mathematics achievement growth and self-efficacy development were also explored. Sex, SES, and race/ethnicity differences in both mathematics achievement growth and self-efficacy development were discovered, and findings were consistent with familiar achievement gaps favoring white and Asian males from above median SES households. In particular, SES was found to be a ubiquitous factor in both mathematics achievement and self-efficacy development, and sex moderated some of the relationships between mathematics achievement and self-efficacy. Implications for future research, instructional design, and intervention development are discussed.