Title

The Symbols are in the Music: An Investigation of Eighth Graders Mathematics Connecticut Mastery Test Achievement and Musical Involvement

Date of Completion

January 2010

Keywords

Education, Mathematics|Education, Music

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Mathematical achievement is a student's success or failure on an examination of performance in the area of mathematics (Jensen, 1993). In order for students to be successful in the area of mathematics, they benefit substantially from participating in high-interest activities (Trautwein, Ludtke, & Marsh, 2006). Music is one high-interest activity shown to have a positive impact on academic achievement (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002). This study investigated mathematics and music factors that helped to explain eighth-grade students' mathematics achievement, namely mathematical affect, instructional music, and social music. A sample of 321 eighth-grade students from three districts within demographic reference group B in the state of Connecticut completed a 30-item survey that was developed to address these ideas. Through factor analysis, the following three factors were identified: mathematical affect, instructional music, and social music, and the relevance of individual factors and correlations among factors were determined. Additionally, Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) mathematics and reading achievement scores and ethnicity data were collected. Further analysis using regression investigated the relative strength of mathematical affect, instructional music, and social music, after the influence of ethnicity and CMT reading scores had been removed, as measured by eighth-grade students' CMT mathematics achievement scores. Findings suggested that mathematical affect, instructional music, and social music accounted for 8% of the variance in CMT mathematics scores above and beyond the CMT reading scores and ethnicity. CMT reading scores, followed by mathematical affect, had the highest predictive power in CMT mathematics scores. Instructional music and ethnicity had small positive relationships with and have the potential to predict CMT mathematics scores. Social music, however, was not shown to predict CMT mathematics scores. Although, statistically significant relationships between social music and mathematics achievement were not found, the analysis demonstrated that social music was important in the lives of eighth graders studied. This study provided evidence of factors predictive of mathematics achievement as measured by CMT scores, showed the importance of instructional music, and opened the door for additional studies to explore relationships between social music and mathematics achievement. ^