Student Interest and Engagement in Mathematics After the First Year of Secondary Education

Veronica Ryan 1 * , Olivia Fitzmaurice 2, John O’Donoghue 1 *
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1 EPI-STEM–National Center for STEM Education and Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Limerick, Limerick, IRELAND
2 School of Education, University of Limerick, Limerick, IRELAND
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp. 436-454.
Published: 25 June 2022
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The end of first year in secondary mathematics education is an important yet neglected milestone in the literature. It represents a crucial period in a students’ mathematical lifetime when they have negotiated the physical, academic and emotional bridges between primary and secondary education, bridges which have been shown to impact considerably on students’ performance and attitudes to mathematics. This study, which investigated students’ motivation in mathematics and their willingness to engage in it including attitudes, emotions and self-related beliefs at the end of students’ first year of secondary education in Ireland, formed part of a larger study on student transition in mathematics from primary to secondary education in Ireland. It is the first study of its kind since the introduction of a new mathematics curriculum in Ireland in 2010. Using a large sample of 304 students, the data was analyzed for all students and also for students grouped by gender. The results of this study show high levels of student engagement, motivation and positive self-belief in mathematics, despite recorded declines in mathematical performance after a full year’s instruction. This study also highlights a gender disparity in mathematics self-beliefs, particularly in relation to self-efficacy, self-concept, and anxiety.


Ryan, V., Fitzmaurice, O., & O’Donoghue, J. (2022). Student Interest and Engagement in Mathematics After the First Year of Secondary Education. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10(4), 436-454.


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