The role of expectancy-value theory in upper-secondary level students’ decisions to avoid the study of advanced mathematics
Widening and increasing participation in advanced mathematics studies at upper-secondary level (age 16–18) is a significant challenge for most education systems. Policy makers in Ireland have attempted to address this challenge over the past decade by introducing an incentive to encourage students to study advanced mathematics. This study examines the reasons why students, who would appear to have sufficient prior achievement to enable them to engage in advanced mathematics studies at upper-secondary level, opted not to do so even with the presence of this incentive. Responses to questionnaires completed by 183 students in 10 secondary schools across Ireland were analysed. This analysis indicated that these students tended to avoid engaging in advanced mathematics study at upper-secondary level for a range of reasons. Most cited the expectation that they would struggle or had struggled too much with advanced mathematics. Other commonly cited reasons included the amount of time and effort required to engage effectively in the study of advanced mathematics and the impact this would have on time available to study other subjects.
PublicationIrish Educational Studies
Department or School
- Mathematics & Statistics