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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Modeling of the factors affecting mathematical achievement of Form 1 students in Botswana based on the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
by Chepete, Poloko, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008, 216; 3319920
Abstract (Summary)

This study offers a holistic examination of mathematics learning in schools in Botswana. The study utilized the Botswana sample data from IEA's Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) of 2003. The analyzed sample was comprised of 4,805 students in 136 schools. Two datasets, distinguished by the method used to treat missing data at the school-level, were analyzed. Part of the theoretical framework for variable selection was based on six factors from the Rand model (Oakes, 1986). The six factors were student background and attitude (at the individual-level) and school-quality, teacher-attribute, and instructional-quality (at the school-level), with mathematics achievement as the outcome factor.

Using a multilevel modeling approach, a two-level hierarchical linear modeling technique was employed to model student achievement in mathematics as a function of the student- and school-level contextual factors. The results indicated that about one fifth of the variability in mathematics performance was between schools and that the learning of mathematics in Botswana was driven largely by student level factors with the attitudinal factor accounting for a greater part of the variation than the student background factor. After accounting for differences in student characteristics across schools, the findings revealed that the most effective schools in mathematics had safe school environments as perceived by the students (school quality) and had an academically-inspired student body (aggregated student-level measures). Teacher-attribute and instructional quality served as moderating effects on the student-level factors. Overall, the results supported the six factors from the Rand model and indicated a constellation effect of all the factors on the variability of student achievement.

Implications for various levels of decision makers included the recommendation to replace the current Diploma in Secondary Education teaching qualification with a degreeoffering program and to address the prevalent traditional teaching practices evidenced in the study. The study concluded with suggestions for further research. Teacher responses, for example, showed contradictions in their beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning. Further investigation might reveal whether teachers really believed what they reported or if they had trouble understanding terminology used in the TIMSS teacher instruments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lester, Frank K.
Commitee: Brown, Catherine A., Lambdim, Diana V., Peng, Chao-Ying J., Yang, Xiangdong
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Botswana, Form 1, Hierarchical linear modeling, Mathematics achievement, Missing values, Multiple-imputation, School safety, TIMSS, Teacher beliefs, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Publication Number: 3319920
ISBN: 978-0-549-70352-5
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