Motivational Factors Affecting Math Education

This study investigates the motivation of students in learning Math in public schools of New York City, to find the differences and similarities in the teachers’ and students’ view of their academic motivation in learning Math. Situated in an urban metropolitan area, New York City is diverse in terms of demographics, schools, academics, and presents a unique situation to assess the educational performance of students. With the recent focus being on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the United States is now poised to look at these subjects which were not considered as important as the Liberal Arts as it is now. Another area to look at is what inhibits the progress of students Math proficiency, and what can be done to overcome that impediment? Motivation is the desire or want that energizes and directs goal directed behavior. The social cognitive perspective views motivation as both intrinsic and extrinsic, depending on circumstances and attributions. The essential difference between the two types of motivation is the reason for acting, that is, whether the locus of causality for the action is internal or external. To this purpose, Math students and teachers in a diverse, urban school in NY City were given a survey to study the perceptions of the motivating effects of Math. Interesting results emerged, indicating that the perception of teachers as to how motivated their students were differed significantly from that students. Educational implications for student preparation in learning Math for the urban schools in metropolitan cities will be discussed.

Math Education, Motivation

Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Srilata Bhattacharyya