Ng, C.H., Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The current study investigated the stability of students' self-schemas and their associated engagement patterns in learning mathematics. It would advance our limited understanding of self-schemas and their effects (Murphy & Alexander, 2000; Pintrich, 1994). 422 Australian grade 10 students were surveyed twice, in the beginning and at the end of an academic year. Two types of schematic students in learning mathematics, positive and negative, were identified through cluster analysis using the four defining dimensions of a self-schema (affect, efficacy, importance and future self) during Time 1. It was found that positive schematic students relative to their counterparts learnt mathematics predominantly with mastery and functional goals, endorsed the use of deep and achieving approaches, used more self- regulated strategies, and developed a positive attitude towards the subject. In contrast, negative schematic students learnt mathematics mainly with avoidance and extrinsic goals, endorsed a surface approach, used less regulating strategies, and developed a negative attitude towards the subject. Similar relationships between schematic types and learning engagement patterns were also found in Time 2. In addition, comparing cluster membership of Time 1 and 2 revealed that most of the participants (76.68%) maintained their schematic view throughout the academic year. Only 23.32% of participants experienced a shift in schematic grouping (12.44% of students shifted from negative group to the positive one and 10.88% from positive to negative). Taken together, these findings lent empirical support to the reciprocal reinforcement model of schematic development and learning proposed by Ng & Renshaw (2001).