INFLUENCES OF MATHEMATICAL LEARNING ATTRIBUTES ON MATHEMATICAL COMPETENCY AMONG MALAYSIAN SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

R. Ahmad Tarmizi, F. Saadati

Institute for Mathematical Research (MALAYSIA)
In mathematics education, strategic behaviors and affect variables are associated with higher problem-solving skills and mathematical competence. Mathematical competency is a set of mathematics standards, concepts, learning strategies and thinking skills, which are integral in assessing mathematics performance. However, low mathematical competency among students has been the central problem in schools and has long been overwhelmed not only by the educators but by parents and society at large.

The purpose of this study was to build a model to predict the relationships between mathematical competency and mathematical learning attributes namely, perceived mathematics usefulness, mathematics importance, mathematics relevance, and mathematics creativity among secondary school learners. A survey methodology was employed using 610 Form Four (Year 10) students. Mathematical Attributes Questionnaire using Likert-scales rating which comprised of both positively and negatively worded items related to perceived mathematics usefulness (7 items), importance of mathematics (7 items), relevance of mathematics (8 items) and mathematical creativity (5 items) were used.

Structural equation modeling showed that mathematical usefulness, mathematical importance, mathematical relevance and mathematical creativity influence learners’ mathematical competence. Mathematical creativity and mathematical relevance were moderately correlated to mathematical competence. Based on model obtained, there are direct relationships between all four factors towards mathematical competency. In overall, the study model explained 40% of the variation on mathematical competence. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the sub-scales were reliable and had high construct validity.