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Differences between male and female community college students in achievement and attitude on college remedial mathematics


The purpose of this non-experimental quantitative research study is to explore sex differences between community college male and female students on mathematics achievement and attitudes toward remedial mathematics in a metropolitan community college setting in the Southeastern United States. Through comparative and associative statistics the results revealed the findings from four research questions. The research questions explored the relationship between sex differences in remedial mathematics achievement and students' attitudes towards mathematics. The study found there was a statistically significant difference between male and female students on remedial mathematic achievement. The research showed males were significantly different from females on Pre-college Algebra (p < .001). The means scores of the two groups indicated that the average male students scores were (M = 52.10) while the female students scores were significantly lower at (M = 41.11). The effect size was .6, which according to Cohen (1988) is medium or typical in this discipline. Therefore, community college male student participants performed higher than the females on mathematics achievement. Using Independent Samples t-test the results from this study supported previous studies regarding differences between male and female community college students' attitudes toward mathematics. The study showed males scored significantly higher on motivation and self-concept than females. Females scored significantly higher on anxiety than males (p < .001). Males scored higher than females on both enjoyment (p = .228) and value (p = .111) but the differences were not statistically significant. The means score on value for males was (M = 3.57) and (M = 3.32) for females. The effect size for both value .2 and enjoyment .3 was small or smaller than typical (Cohen, 1988). The results showed that the combination of sex and student’s attitudes (motivation, anxiety, value, enjoyment, and self-concept) can predict remedial mathematics achievement F(6, 147) = 8.80, p < .001. The effect size was large or larger than typical (Cohen, 1988). Using 2 x 2 Factorial ANOVA this study found that male and female students who passed/failed remedial mathematics did not interact differently in regards to their attitude toward mathematics (motivation, anxiety, value, enjoyment, self-concept). There was not a significant interaction between sex and mathematics achievement (pass/fail) on motivation (p = .429), anxiety (p = .165), value (p = .504), enjoyment (p = .177), and self-concept (p = .332). However, there was a statistically significant main effect between remedial mathematics (pass/fail) on all of the attitude variables motivation, anxiety, enjoyment, and self-concept (p < .001) except value (p = .411). So those who passed remedial mathematics had higher scores on motivation, enjoyment and self-concept, but lower scores than those who failed remedial mathematics on anxiety.


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remedial mathematics
sex differences in attitudes toward mathematics
underprepared community college students


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