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Learning loss intervention in primary school children: Differences in mathematics performance, confidence, and self-efficacy across term-time and a school holiday

Timewll, Charlene (2014) Learning loss intervention in primary school children: Differences in mathematics performance, confidence, and self-efficacy across term-time and a school holiday. University of Derby. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Children’s academic performance has pervasive ramifications for their future prospects and life chances (Field, 2010). Yet, the influence of self-beliefs on children’s mathematics performance has not been addressed with the additional consideration of learning loss after school holidays. Furthermore, previous findings from the learning loss literature are often confounded by methodological flaws (Cooper et al., 1996). A new measure of mathematics performance, confidence, and self-efficacy (MPAC-MSE) controlled for ability and cognitive functioning differences. A 3 x 3 mixed measures design explored differences in mathematics performance, confidence, and self-efficacy in 100 primary school children when assessed before and after a period of formal education, and again after a short school holiday, with a mathematical intervention, non-mathematical intervention, or no intervention. Main analyses found significant, disordinal interactions for mathematics performance and confidence, but not for mathematics self-efficacy. Simple effects illustrated how self-directed, diminutive engagement in a mathematical intervention led to significant increases in mathematics performance and confidence. These improvements were almost indistinguishable from those observed after an equivalent period of teaching. The non-significant fluctuations observed after a non-mathematical intervention or no intervention suggest that mathematics performance, confidence, and self-efficacy remain stable across a short school holiday. Implications for traditional and year-round education calendar structures are considered. Recommendations for further research include extending the testing period after returning to formal education from a school holiday and exploring parental attitudes and self-beliefs toward their involvement in home-based interventions for their children during longer school holidays.

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