The aim of the study is to explore the relationship between Mathematics performance and self-efficacy beliefs of Grade 9 learners in South African schools. This research focuses on Mathematics learners that participated in the Trend in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 project.
The study investigated the poor performance as reflected in TIMSS 2011, an international survey that was carried out by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), indicating that South Africa Grade 9 learners had the lowest performance among the TIMSS 2011 participating countries for Mathematics.
The present study followed a secondary data analysis of the TIMSS dataset that related to South African Grade 9 Mathematics learners and adopted an integrated qualitative-quantitative approach. Three research questions and three hypotheses guided this study.
The target population was 9 504 schools and 988 632 learners in the South African educational system. However, a sample of 285 schools and 11 969 Mathematics learners in South Africa was considered for the study, using a stratified random sampling technique. The instrument used for data collection was a learner questionnaire on Mathematics. Data collected was analysed using mean, frequencies, percentages, effect size, one-way Chi-square and Mann-Whitney U techniques.
Findings from the study indicate that there is a need for South African Mathematics learners to develop positive self-efficacy beliefs in Mathematics, as there was a significant difference in the influence of self-efficacy beliefs on learners? performance in Mathematics. There was also a significant difference between learners speaking English, which is the language of test at home, and learners whose home language is not English.