The aim of a new program is to increase math motivation for students who have little math benefits. The study was focused on students whose parents consider math important for future life.
A new study released by the Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology says the program causes a so-called Robin Hood Effect which helps students without motivation to study math. The aim of the program is to make information about the importance of math accessible for underprivileged students. It helps reduce the motivational gap in students from different backgrounds.
Researchers didn’t include the ‘Matthew effect’ in the study. This effect refers to a situation when students who have a good foundation and are more privileged profit more from an intervention than underprivileged students.
The researchers analyzed attitudes towards math in 1,900 German students and their families. These students participated in a special program that teaches them about the importance of math. During the program, students received information about the usefulness of math for their future careers and their life. After that, students were asked to write an essay about the usefulness of math and analyze quotations about the importance of this subject.
Five months after the intervention, the students answered a survey about their motivation towards math. The researchers found that some students had put more effort into studying this subject: the motivation of these students was higher than before. Researchers said that students need time to change their attitude towards math. They need time to reflect on the information they received during the program.
Researchers also stated that socioeconomic status of families doesn’t have a huge effect on student’s motivation to learn. What’s important, though, is the parent’s interest in a subject. Researchers said that when parents are interested in math, chances are their children will be interested as well. Parents spend time talking about math with kids, passing their interest on them.
Students whose parents don’t have any interest in math don’t have these kinds of conversations. When they start studying math at school, they have to put more effort to reflect on information about the subject.
Researchers say classroom interventions are important because they can reduce the motivational gap between students with greater and fewer recourses.