Students’ Multidimensional Profiles of Math Engagement: Predictors and Outcomes From a Self‐System Motivational Perspective

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British Journal of Educational Psychology

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Background: Math engagement research has been largely limited to examining theunique and additive relations of engagement dimensions with outcomes. However, anemerging perspective is that students may simultaneously invest varying degrees of theirdistinct energetic resources (e.g., cognitive vs. emotional) in their interactions with themath learning environment. Aims: Adopting a person-centred perspective, we examined unique latent subpopu-lations of adolescents’ multidimensional math engagement. Importantly, we did so whileaccounting for generality and specificity in engagement data, including general engagementand specific cognitive, emotional, and social engagement dimensions. Additionally, weexamined students’ math self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and gender as predictors,and math achievement indices as outcomes, of profile membership. Sample: The sample comprised 400 Australian school students taking mandatory mathclasses. Methods: Data on students’ multidimensional engagement, math self-efficacy, mathoutcome expectations, and demographic characteristics were collected at the beginningof the academic semester. Standardized test scores and class grades were retrieved at theend of the semester. Results: Latent profile analyses, based on preliminary bifactor exploratory structuralequation models intended to tease apart generality from specificity in engagement data,revealed ‘Minimally Engaged’, ‘Emotionally Disengaged’, and ‘Moderately-to-HighlyEngaged’ profiles. Additionally, math self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and genderwere found to predict the likelihood of profile membership. Finally, class grades, but notstandardized test scores, were found to significantly differ across the profiles, accountingfor prior achievement, gender, and grade level. Conclusions: The findings replicate previous work that has shown profiles of studentengagement and extend this work by (1) accounting for known generality and specificity inengagement data and (2) obtaining evidence for relations of profile membership withgender, self-beliefs, and achievement.


Educational Psychology | Science and Mathematics Education



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