Role of mathematics self-efficacy and motivation in mathematics performance across ethnicity

Tara Stevens, Arturo Olivarez, William Y. Lan, Mary K. Tallent-Runnels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


The authors evaluated self-efficacy and motivational orientation across Hispanic and Caucasian students to predict variables related to mathematics achievement, including mathematics performance and students' plans to take additional mathematics courses. Path models were analyzed for 358 students in Grades 9 and 10 who attended a West Texas high school and for the sample split by ethnicity. The tested models provided adequate goodness of fit to the data, supporting the finding that self-efficacy predicts motivational orientation and mathematics performance. Tests of each model parameter across ethnicity revealed 1 significant difference, suggesting that the relationship between prior mathematics achievement and self-efficacy was stronger for Hispanic students. Findings indicate that similar motivational systems exist to predict mathematics achievement across ethnicity; however, Caucasian students do not place as much emphasis on prior mastery experiences as do Hispanic students, suggesting that other factors are active in influencing their self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-222
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Ability and motivation
  • Ethnicity
  • Mathematics self-efficacy
  • Motivational orientation


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