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Longitudinal Studies in learning traits, learning environments, and performance differences of junior high school students participating in various “Mathematics Competitions”
experience of attending competitions
This study aims to explore contestants’ learning traits, learning environment, in the difference of performance in various “Mathematics Competitions” for junior high school students through three years’ longitudinal studies. The author designed a questionnaire on “learning experiences of mathematics” to track 100 junior high school students who participated in “2002 Winter Math Camp”. The sample includes the contestants who won awards, the contestants who did not receive awards, and the students who did not attend any math competition. The conclusion goes as: 1. There is no significant difference in the degrees of taking pleasure in mathematics, the willingness to seek for solutions on his/her own, the frequency of showing multiple intelligences in solving math problems, the extra-curricular activity in learning math, and the frequency of active, independent research. 2. Overall, three main sources of learning pressure are identified: 48% from “self,” 19% and 18% are from “classmates” and “family members,” respectively. Those who did not get awards feel the pressure from “classmates” most. 3. 71% of the samples consider, at the current stage, their potential is rarely, if any, developed, while 29% of the sample reported their potential developed mostly and well. 4. In addition to courses provided by school, the main sources of acquiring math knowledge are different in junior high school and senior high school: transforming from “teacher-oriented” to “self-study.” 5. 40% of those who were awarded in the competitions attended “Talent Project” or “Accelerated program”. 6. Concerning math learning experiences, the correlations are .973 (P<.01) between the degrees of taking pleasure in math and independent research; .964 (P<.01) between reflective methods and independent research; .929 (P<.05) between the degrees of taking pleasure in math and reflective methods. As for the of sources of learning pressure, .974 (P<.01) is between the pressure from teachers and classmates. The correlations among self-expectation and pressure from classmates, pressures from parents and from teachers are non significant In the degree of satisfaction in learning environment, each entry in school environment and math courses demonstrate high correlation (r=.973 ,P<.01). 7. For students with various math learning experiences, the degree of satisfaction in math learning environment is in ascending order through elementary school, junior high school, to senior high school.
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