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posted on 2021-07-29, 19:01 authored by Yaheng LuYaheng Lu
Motivation and mathematics anxiety both impact student achievement in the early grades. However, few if any studies have examined the patterns of kindergarten students' motivation and mathematics anxiety and their associations with teachers’ practices and student demographics. In this study, I investigate both these issues. Specifically, using a diverse sample of 355 students from 24 kindergarten classrooms, I examined (a) whether there were distinct profiles of motivation and mathematics anxiety among students and (b) the associations between student profiles and teachers’ practices. Using cluster analysis, I identified three student profiles. The largest student profile (52.4%) demonstrated a positive pattern of High Motivation and Low Anxiety; whereas two other profiles had smaller numbers of students reporting negative outcomes: Low Motivation and Moderate Anxiety (32.3%) and Moderate Motivation and High Anxiety (15.3%). Student profiles were associated with students’ socioeconomic status and race. Students of distinct profiles differed significantly on their reports of mathematics motivation, mathematics anxiety, and performance on mathematics achievement – measured by standardized tests. In addition, teachers’ ratings of student motivation for mathematics were significantly different across student profiles.
To investigate the associations between teacher practices and student outcomes, I purposively selected six teachers based on a combination of multiple criteria and rated their mathematics lessons by using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (Pianta et al., 2008). Three teachers with high concentrations of students reporting positive outcomes had more positive ratings across the domains of Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support, compared to the other three teachers with high percentages of students reporting negative outcomes. I compared descriptions of teacher practices between the two groups of teachers to illustrate associations between teacher practices and student outcomes. Implications for mathematics instruction in the early elementary grades are discussed.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

P. Youli Mantzicopoulos

Additional Committee Member 2

Helen Patrick

Additional Committee Member 3

David A. Sears

Additional Committee Member 4

Laura Bofferding