Parental involvement and mathematics anxiety in a multicultural society

2017-02-22T01:52:33Z (GMT) by Deb, Mousumi
In this thesis, the relationships between parents' perceptions of the value of mathematics education, parents' involvement in the mathematics learning of their children, and the mathematics anxiety of students from three ethnic communities within the multicultural society of Australia were investigated. The existing literature indicates that parents' attitudes and parenting styles vary widely across different cultures, and these variations significantly affect children's academic performance (Stevenson, Lee, & Stigler, 1986; Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts & Farleigh, 1987). The specific relationships that were explored in this study were: i) the association between parental beliefs about mathematics (i.e. the value they placed on mathematics education) and students' mathematics anxiety, ii) the relationship between parental involvement in mathematics learning and the mathematics anxiety of students, iii) the influence of culture on parental beliefs about, and involvement in, mathematics education, and the influence of culture on students' mathematics anxiety and iv) the influence of culture on the relationship between parental beliefs/involvement and students' mathematics anxiety. An anonymous questionnaire was administered to a sample of parents and students from Years 6, 7 and 8, carefully drawn from three different cultural backgrounds (Greek, Arabic and Chinese). Parents' beliefs and involvement were measured using the Value of Mathematics Scale (V Scale) (Aiken 1974) and the Parental Involvement Questionnaire (PIQ) (Cai, Moyer, & Wang, 1996) respectively. The mathematics anxiety of each student was measured using the Mathematics Anxiety Questionnaire (MAQ) (Wigfield & Meece, 1988). The findings of the study showed that there was no significant relationship between parental beliefs and students' mathematics anxiety. However, parental involvement in terms of providing mathematics content advice, and their role in providing mathematics learning resources, significantly predicted low mathematics anxiety among students. The cross-cultural comparison suggested that in general there was no significant cultural difference in parental beliefs and involvement except that the Greek parents were found to monitor their children's mathematics learning more than the parents from the other communities. The data also showed that the Chinese students experienced significantly lower levels of fear or nervousness about mathematics learning than the other students.