A Longitudinal Examination of the Relations Between Motivation, Math Achievement, and STEM Career Interest Among Black Students
Adler, Rebecca Morgan
The current study explored individual and gendered differences in Black students’ motivation for learning mathematics using three key Situated Expectancy-Value Theory (SEVT) constructs (expectancies of success, utility value, and interest). It also evaluated whether math motivational profiles predicted later math achievement and STEM career interest among Black secondary-school students. Black students (n = 410, 55% female) attending schools in a metropolitan area of Tennessee, USA and mostly from families surviving economic marginalization completed surveys and math achievement assessments across middle and high school. Latent Transition Analysis identified four profiles of math motivation, including a profile of high motivation across constructs. Black girls were less likely to be in the high motivational profile than Black boys, and a majority of students moved to a profile characterized by lower levels of motivation between 6th and 10th grade. Students in the high math motivational profile in 6th grade and those who maintained their motivation across the transition to high school had higher math test scores in 10th grade. In contrast, math motivation profiles and transitions rarely predicted interest in a STEM career in 10th grade. Overall, findings suggest that SEVT is useful for understanding motivation and academic performance among Black students when a person-centered analytic approach is used, but more work is needed to expand the theory to understand the development of Black students’ STEM career interests.