An Investigation of First-time College Freshmen and Relationships Among Mathematical Mindset, Identity, Self-efficacy, and Use of Self-regulated Learning Strategies
Rothrock, Katrina Stullken
University of Kansas
Curriculum and Teaching
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Students experience great social and academic challenges during their first semester of college and for many, the completion of required mathematics courses is one of those challenges. This study investigated the relationship of first-time college freshmen’s mathematics course enrollment, gender, and high school mathematics course experience to their mathematical mindset, identity, self-efficacy, and use of self-regulated learning strategies in mathematics courses. Two forms of a researcher-developed survey instrument were administered to students enrolled in three mathematics courses at a Midwestern public research university to examine the differences among those constructs at the beginning and end of the Fall 2018 semester. A multivariate analysis of variance on the data from 299 participants at the beginning of the semester indicated significant differences in students’ mathematical identity and self-efficacy scores. Calculus I students reported significantly higher mathematical identity scores than Intermediate Algebra students, and students who had taken mathematics courses beyond Algebra 2 in high school had significantly higher mathematical identity and self-efficacy scores than those who had not. A multivariate analysis of variance on the data from 176 participants at the end of the semester found marginally significant differences in Intermediate Algebra and Calculus I students’ mathematical identity scores. There were no significant gender differences identified for any of the constructs nor any significant differences in students’ mathematical mindset or use of self-regulated learning strategies scores at the beginning or end of the semester, and no significant differences in mathematical self-efficacy were identified at the end of the semester. Multiple linear regression analyses indicated that college mathematics course enrollment contributed significantly to mathematical mindset, identity, and use of self-regulated learning strategies, and high school mathematics course experience contributed significantly to mathematical identity and self-efficacy. Mathematical self-efficacy scores decreased over the course of the semester for all 68 of the participants who took both surveys; a repeated measures analysis of variance revealed statistically significant differences for males, Intermediate Algebra students, and those who had taken advanced mathematics courses in high school. No statistically significant differences were identified among two-time participants with regard to mathematical mindset, identity, or use of self-regulated learning strategies.
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