University of Sussex
Evans, Danielle Nicole.pdf (1.91 MB)

Emotional and social predictors of the trajectory of mathematical attainment across the transition from primary to secondary education.

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posted on 2023-06-09, 22:07 authored by Danielle EvansDanielle Evans
This thesis examines the effects associated with the transition from primary to secondary education, focusing on maths attainment throughout childhood and adolescence. Existing research suggests that the transition to secondary education is especially problematic for the development of maths abilities and is associated with declines in maths-related affect. Moreover, the transition is linked to several changes within children’s social, educational, and home environments, affecting their general wellbeing and overall development. Given the importance of maths attainment for a wide range of outcomes in adulthood, this thesis aims to add to the existing literature by identifying predictors of maths attainment trajectories and maths anxiety throughout this transitional period, with the purpose of helping to better inform educational interventions. Following an introduction to the thesis, Chapter 2 is a review of international literature on the academic and psychological impacts associated with the transition to secondary education. This chapter discusses several negative outcomes associated with the transition and identifies risk and protecting factors for a successful transition. Using latent growth models of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), Chapters 3-5 investigate emotional, cognitive, home, parental, and schoolrelated predictors of maths attainment trajectories. The findings suggest internalising symptoms, working memory, parental education qualifications, school support, maths attitudes, parent-child relationships, and school/teacher affect predict maths attainment trajectories. In the final empirical chapter, maths anxiety in early adulthood is predicted from emotional symptoms and maths attainment over the transition using a linear model of the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). Findings show that heightened emotional symptoms and decreased maths attainment over the transition predict increased maths anxiety in adulthood. This thesis concludes with a discussion of the findings and proposes that transition strategies may benefit from focusing on improving student-teacher relationships, maths attitudes, and parental involvement in school activities across the transition.


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University of Sussex

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