Original Research

Relating motivation and learning strategies to algebra course results in a foundation programme

Wendy L. Baumgartner, Erica D. Spangenberg, Geoffrey V. Lautenbach
Pythagoras | Vol 45, No 1 | a781 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v45i1.781 | © 2024 Wendy L. Baumgartner, Erica D. Spangenberg, Geoffrey V. Lautenbach | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 September 2023 | Published: 08 March 2024

About the author(s)

Wendy L. Baumgartner, Department of Science and Technology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Erica D. Spangenberg, Department of Science and Technology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Geoffrey V. Lautenbach, Department of Science and Technology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Foundation programmes provide an alternate access route for prospective students whose prior academic results exclude direct entry to undergraduate studies. Bridging courses within foundation programmes address gaps in prior knowledge while developing content knowledge and requisite skills to equip students for the rigour of undergraduate degree study. This study looks for relationships between motivation and learning strategies at course commencement and the final course results of 796 purposively chosen participants across four iterative cycles (cohorts) enrolled in an algebra course within a foundation programme at a private higher education institution in South Africa. Data were collected with the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire, and cohort responses were analysed using correlational statistics. Statistically significant differences mainly were detected in the motivation subscales, and the academic performance was largely related to gender and prior mathematics syllabus. Where cohorts are similar, generic interventions designed to equip one cohort may equip others. Specific intervention strategies that target the needs of students based on the needs identified in this study may equip future students to improve their algebraic knowledge.

Contribution: The research contributes by augmenting the exiguous literature of studies of students in algebra courses in foundation programmes who aim to progress to undergraduate degree studies. Investigating relationships between motivation and learning strategies at course commencement and final course results within multiple cohorts promotes the development of flexible, relevant intervention strategies that can be implemented timeously. A study of multiple cohorts further allows for improved validity and reliability in conclusions relating to scalability.


Keywords

Mathematical Literacy; motivated strategies for learning questionnaire; self-efficacy; task value; test anxiety.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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