‘Ability’ grouping and teacher judgements at age seven, and children’s maths self-concept at age 11: preliminary findings from the Millennium Cohort Study
Join us in this DLL Research Webinar delivered by Dr Tammy Campbell (British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, LSE).
This work uses data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to examine two factors predicting children’s maths self-concept at age 11: firstly, the maths ‘ability’ group children were placed in four years previously, at age seven; and secondly, the children’s former class teachers’ judgements of their maths performance – again, when they were seven. Maths self-concept is important, not least because it affects choices of educational pathways and because it influences attainment.
Previous research indicates consistently that girls are more likely to have a lower sense of their capability in maths than boys. Additionally, both ‘ability’ grouping and teacher judgements have been evidenced as affecting children’s self-concepts. Research demonstrates moreover that girls can be disproportionately disadvantaged in maths ‘ability’ groupings, and in teachers’ judgements regarding maths. This study therefore explores whether and how these two factors are implicated in maths self-concept formation for all MCS children, and for boys and girls separately.
Preliminary findings indicate clear independent associations between both earlier maths group and teacher judgements, and later maths self-concept. In initial analyses, higher maths group placement and positive teacher judgement regarding maths at age seven seem to protect against negative self-concept at age 11. But the underlying patterns are more complex: associations – particularly with ‘ability’ group placement – vary by gender, and also by maths cognitive test performance at age seven. Potential interpretations will be discussed, alongside implications for policy and practice.
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