The Measurement and Influence of Mathematics Motivation in a Digital Context
Effective Years: 2019-2024
The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that will generate fundamental knowledge in the field. This Early Faculty Career Development project supports the generation of knowledge through the building of a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research in STEM disciplines. It will examine ways to address a national concern for strengthening students' mathematics competency by enhancing their content knowledge in and motivation for learning mathematics. The study will focus on student motivation for learning as an important predictor of student choice, persistence, and achievement in STEM careers. It will advance research beyond studies that only examine links between motivation and mathematics achievement to lesser known aspects about how motivation functions to support students' in-the-moment choices during learning. The project will: (1) embed experience sampling questions and enhanced choice options within a Spatial Temporal Math digital platform; (2) examine associations between situated student motivation, choice, and academic outcomes; (3) develop nudge interventions based on these associations and iteratively test nudges in a series of experiments within the platform; and (4) assess the impact of nudges in a randomized trial. This project will collect data from over 30K third through fifth grade students for a period of one year.
Experience sampling and data mining methods will be used to collect data about student motivation as they engage Spatial Temporal Math on a digitized mathematics learning platform aligned with state standards. Methods will include surveys, interviews, observations, and other student related tests and school data. Pilot studies will provide data essential to developing interventions that promote deeper learning drawing on motivation theory and behavioral economics. Results from this project will advance theoretical and analytic bases for understanding motivation and choice situated in real-world learning contexts. These new advances will help transform understanding about student motivation and behaviors as well as inform improvements in the teaching and learning of mathematics. In addition to the 30K that will be directly impacted by this study; in real time, the project will help improve learning for more than a million existing users of the digital platform. Thus, results will benefit society by enhancing student content knowledge and motivational practices while simultaneously developing a foundation for being successful in challenging mathematics undertakings.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.