Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Motivation and Attitude of Preservice Elementary Teachers toward Mathematics

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This study investigated preservice elementary teachers’ achievement goal orientations for learning mathematics and the relationship of those goals to their attitudes toward mathematics. Self-report instruments were administered to assess three achievement goals—mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoid, and three constructs of attitude—confidence in learning mathematics, usefulness of mathematics, and mathematics as a male domain. The preservice teachers were higher in mastery goals than in performance goals, and performance-avoid goals were higher than performance-approach goals. Mastery goals correlated positively to all three constructs of attitude. Since mathematics classes are traditionally performance-oriented, these results suggest a mismatch between personal and classroom goals that could result in negative attitudes and the adoption of maladaptive performance-avoid goals. These findings suggest that mathematics content courses for preservice elementary teachers should be taught in a classroom climate that supports and encourages mastery goals.