Effects of using history as a tool to teach mathematics on students’ attitudes, anxiety, motivation and achievement in grade 11 classrooms

S.Y. Lim, Elaine Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
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© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. For decades, educators have advocated using history of mathematics in mathematics classrooms. Empirical research on the efficacy of this practice, however, is scarce. A quasi-experiment was used to investigate the effects of using history as a tool to teach mathematics on grade 11 students’ mathematics achievement. Effects in three affective domains (attitudes, anxiety, and motivation) were also measured. Four classes from a school in Singapore participated in this quasi-experiment. The experimental group (n = 51) and control group (n = 52) were each made up of two classes. Results indicated that using history as a tool to teach mathematics had a significant positive effect on students’ mathematics achievement, in an initial posttest and in two retention tests taken 4 months and 1 year, respectively, after the last intervention session. Significant positive effects were also found on two subscales within the affective domain variables (perceived value of mathematics and introjection, a type of extrinsic motivation), but only at a posttest administered midway through the study. These results suggest that using history in mathematics classrooms have both immediate short- and long-term effects on students’ achievement, but only short-term positive effects in the affective domains. These results were discussed using qualitative feedback obtained from the participants of this study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-212
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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