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Thesis
The role of problem solving ability and reading comprehension skill in predicting growth trajectories of mathematics achievement between ESB and NESB students.
(2012)
  • Alvin Vista, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
Abstract
This study examined the trajectories of growth in maths achievement and how problem solving (PS) ability and reading comprehension (RC) skills predict this growth. Within this analysis framework, group differences between English (ESB) and non-English speaking background (NESB) students were also examined. The participants for this study are government school students (N=5886) in grades 3 to 8 from 61 government schools in 6 DEECD regions in Victoria. Regression analysis and latent growth modelling (LGM) showed that PS ability predicts growth in maths achievement and this relationship is partially mediated by RC skill. No group differences were found between ESB and NESB students, suggesting that the trajectory of growth in maths achievement is not influenced by language background. Results also showed that age has an attenuating effect on maths growth. Parallel regression analysis using independent datasets confirmed these findings. Results from the LGM analysis supported the general findings from the regression analyses and provided a more comprehensive model of growth with a linear trajectory for maths achievement. The latent growth models showed that both PS ability and RC skill predict initial status in maths achievement, but only PS ability predicts growth. The models were cross-validated using two randomly selected subsamples to check against model- specific stochastic variance. The data also fit a model in which an improvement in general reasoning ability of students allows those with lower initial levels in maths achievement to catch up. This can be interpreted as evidence that improving growth rates in PS ability may lift growth rates in maths achievement. The findings that language background is not associated with initial levels of maths achievement and subsequent rates of growth suggest that educational interventions should affect students equally regardless of language background. This has important implications for future system-wide implementation of large scale interventions on Australia's linguistically diverse classrooms. Finally, future research directions are outlined and discussed. [Author abstract]
Keywords
  • Cognitive skills,
  • Language proficiency,
  • Mathematics achievement,
  • Non English speaking background,
  • Problem solving,
  • Reading comprehension,
  • Regression,
  • Statistics,
  • Primary secondary education,
  • Year 3,
  • Year 4,
  • Year 5,
  • Year 6,
  • Year 7,
  • Year 8
Publication Date
2012
Degree
PhD
Field of study
Educational Measurement
Department
University of Melbourne
Citation Information
Alvin Vista. "The role of problem solving ability and reading comprehension skill in predicting growth trajectories of mathematics achievement between ESB and NESB students." (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alvin-vista/1/