Motivation and Ability as Factors in Mathematics Experience and Achievement

, and . Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (1995)


This study examined relationships among interest, achievement motivation, mathematical ability, the quality of experience when doing mathematics, and mathematics achievement. One hundred eight freshmen and sophomores (41 males, 67 females) completed interest ratings, an achievement motivation questionnaire, and the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. These assessments were followed by 1 week of experience sampling. Mathematics grades were available from the year before the study started, from the same year, and from the following 3 years. In addition, a measure of the students' course level in mathematics was included. The results showed that quality of experience when doing mathematics was mainly related to interest. Grades and course level were most strongly predicted by level of ability. Interest was found to contribute significantly to the prediction of grades for the second year and to the prediction of course level. Quality of experience was significantly correlated with grades but not course level.

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