This research explores the relationship between attitudes toward mathematics (enjoyment and self-concept) and mathematics achievement using TIMSS 2019 for 58 countries and approximately 450,000 fourth grade students. In addition, students’ perception of teacher’s clarity of instruction in mathematics lesson’s effect on attitudes toward mathematics and achievements will be analyzed. Potential gender differences in these relationships were investigated to identify if they can help explain gender gap in the STEM field. All correlations were analyzed through multivariate linear regressions.
Regression results indicates that both attitudes toward mathematics and clarity of instruction have positive and significant association with mathematics achievement. Also, clarity of instruction increases both mathematics enjoyment and self-concept. Reciprocal relations were found between mathematics attitudes and achievement. When it comes to gender difference, girls had higher perception of clarity of instruction than boys, while the opposite was true for relationship between both mathematics attitudes and achievement. However, t-test suggests that these differences among two groups are significant but not large. At the country level, this study finds a negative relationship between mathematics performance and attitudes toward mathematics.
These results imply that despite there being no big gender difference in student’s perception of teacher’s clarity of instruction and mathematics attitudes at grade 4, both should be promoted within educational practices since they affect mathematics achievement.