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Motivational profiles in mathematics: What role do gender, age and parents’ valuing of mathematics play?

Rebecca Lazarides, Charlott Rubach, Angela Ittel


This study investigated students’ motivational profiles in mathematics and the associations of these profiles with students’ gender, age, and perceptions of their parents’ valuing of mathematics. The study also examined whether students’ motivational profile membership was associated with their achievement in mathematics. Survey data were collected from 849 seventh- to tenth-grade students (boys: 54.8%; average age: 14.19) in 108 classes. Data analysis revealed four motivational profiles: a low-motivation profile, a moderate profile, a utility profile, and a high-motivation profile. Girls were significantly more likely than boys to fall into the utility profile or low-motivation profile. Students with these two profiles reported lower achievement in mathematics than students with other profiles. Students’ perceptions of their parents’ valuing of mathematics were positively associated with the high-motivation profile and negatively associated with all other profiles. The results point to the usefulness of person-centered research approaches in motivational research, which, in this case, identified distinct motivational profiles and their associations with students’ gender, mathematics achievement, and perceived parents’ valuing of mathematics . This research suggests the need to conduct longitudinal person-centered research and to consider distinct sub-groups of students within mathematics classrooms in educational practice.


Mathematics motivation, self-concept, parents’ values, gender

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