A comparative analysis of mathematics self-efficacy of developmental and non-developmental freshman mathematics students

  • Hall M
  • Ponton M
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between mathematics self-efficacy as measured by the Mathematics Self-Efficacy Scale (MSES) and class enrollment, i.e., Calculus I versus Developmental Mathematics. The subjects were freshmen students enrolled at the University of Mississippi for the fall semester of 2001. Enrollment in Developmental Mathematics was determined by ACT/SAT math subscore. A total of four Calculus I classes ( n = 80) and four Developmental Mathematics classes (n = 105) participated in the study. Demographic data concerning gender, race, age, high school graduating class size, highest math class offered at the participant's high school, ACT/SAT math subscore, hometown population, and whether the student attended a public or private high school were obtained in an effort to test differing variables and their effect on mathematics self-efficacy. An independent t-test revealed that the mathematics self-efficacy of students enrolled in Calculus I was significantly higher than the mathematics self-efficacy of students enrolled in Developmental Mathematics. In addition, no differences in gender were observed either overall or by class. A Pearson product-moment correlation indicated a slight negative correlation exists between the age of the participant and mean MSES score. An independent t-test revealed that there was no significant difference in the mathematics self-efficacy of white/Caucasian students and African-American students enrolled in Calculus I. However, additional analysis showed that African-American students enrolled in Developmental Mathematics are more confident in their mathematics ability than white/Caucasian students.

Author-supplied keywords

  • efficacy
  • higher education
  • mathematics education
  • student achievement
  • student beliefs

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  • Michael Hall

  • Michael Ponton

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