THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTAL BELIEFS, ENCOURAGEMENT AND EXPECTATIONS ON THEIR CHILDREN'S MATHEMATICAL NEEDS, VALUES AND PLANS

DIANE SCHNEIDER, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the importance and interrelationships of various social and affective influences on male and female enrollment decisions for optional mathematics courses. An assessment was made of parental behavior which may influence children's attitudes regarding mathematics courses.^ The study surveyed 225 students enrolled in 11th grade mathematics classes and their parents through questionnaires, assessing attitudes toward mathematics as well as educational and career-related factors.^ Results indicated mothers of daughters rated daughters' abilities higher and perceived mathematics as more important and valuable to career and educational goals than did mothers of sons. Fathers did not hold such sex-differentiated perceptions. Both parents had similar educational expectations for their children but parents of sons perceived sons needed more mathematics for chosen careers and thought sons should pursue mathematically-related careers. Marriage and family plans were expected but career pursuits were son's primary responsibilities. Parents of daughters expected daughters to pursue such careers less frequently, thus they needed less mathematics preparation. Parents expected daughters' career commitments to be interrupted for child rearing.^ Correlations between scores of parents and children on corresponding scales indicated both shared beliefs regarding mathematical aptitudes, importance and value of mathematics in obtaining goals, and the amount of mathematics required for a chosen career, and educational, career and life-style plans.^ There is an interrelationship between perceived task values (e.g., enjoyment, attainment, utility) and the affective variables (e.g., confidence, parental encouragement, task difficulty and effort needed) which have an effect upon mathematics enrollment. The six variable cluster discriminating between female electors and non-electors were: perception of usefulness, amount of mathematics needed for chosen career, amount of mathematics need for careers in general, maternal encouragement, confidence and stereotyped beliefs of women's roles. The three-variable cluster distinguishing male electors and non-electors were last year's grades, perception of difficulty and stereotyped beliefs of women's roles.^ The variables are important for they target areas essential to intervention strategies designed to increase female participation in optional mathematics courses. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

SCHNEIDER, DIANE, "THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTAL BELIEFS, ENCOURAGEMENT AND EXPECTATIONS ON THEIR CHILDREN'S MATHEMATICAL NEEDS, VALUES AND PLANS" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8409269.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8409269

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