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Effects of student and school related factors on the mathematics achievement in Turkey at eight grade level

Altun, Ayşegül
The purpose of the study is to investigate how well the mathematics achievement is explained by the students and school related factors. Also, to what extent students and school related factors components are accounted for students’ mathematics achievement in answering reasoning level questions and basic mathematical knowledge questions will be investigated. This study will basically combine students’ questionnaires items with their mathematics achievement scores obtained from mathematics achievement tests items. According to content and cognitive domains three achievement tests were prepared from TIMSS-2003 released mathematic items. Student questionnaire consist of combination of items from TIMSS-2003 and TMSS-1999 student questionnaires. The seventy six items selected from the students questionnaires were analyzed using principle component factor analysis and ten interpretable dimensions were found. Based on the result of the factor analysis, variables were generated by selecting the observed variables with highest loadings. These variables were: socioeconomic status, perception of success, teacher centered activities, students centered activities, out of school activities, out of school activities II, school climate, reason for being successful in mathematics, homework and computer. The data which is used in the study gathered from four socially and economically different schools in Ankara and the final sample of the study consisted of 426 elementary school students. This data was analyzed by using regression analysis. Regression analysis results indicated that socio-economic status was the strongest factor explaining mathematics achievement. Other important variables were the perception of success, use of computers and homework activities. Socioeconomic status and perception of success have positive relationships with mathematics achievement, while homework and computer have negative relationships. These four variables account for the 30.1 % of the variance in mathematics achievement. Other variables did not significantly contribute to mathematics achievement in the regression model. Students’ achievement in basic mathematical knowledge was explained by the same variables which were socioeconomic status, perception of success, homework and computer in the same way. However, achievement in reasoning level explained by socio- economic status, perception of success and homework. The use of computer factor did not contribute the achievement in reasoning level.