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Mathematical identity in women: The concept, its components and relationship to educative ability, achievement and family support

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Mathematical identity and its relationship to mathematical achievement, educative ability and study support were studied among 133 women enrolled in the Swedish adult education system. A model of mathematical identity was constructed including self-perceived mathematical knowledge, ability, motivation and anxiety. This model was transformed into a statistical factor model, tested using Lisrel. An acceptable fit was obtained. The first three factors were strongly negatively related to mathematical anxiety. The mathematical identity components correlated most strongly with earlier school grades in mathematics and, to a lesser extent, with the result of a diagnostic test. Unexpectedly, the relationships to educative ability and study support were weak. Using a person-oriented approach, three typical patterns were found: one with extremely positive, and two with extremely negative, mathematical identity. The implications for further research are to investigate stability and change in the mathematical identity of women taking part in recurrent education.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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