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ItemA study of the effect of a student's home background and personal feelings on achievement in year 7 mathematicsBarraclough, Michael ( 1982)Year 7 is a time of considerable change for most students, and in particular for those entering a new- secondary school. It has been suggested that factors external to the school situation can have the most effect in times of greatest change. This study involved all the students who undertook year 7 in two Technical Schools in 1980. At the beginning of the school year the students were given a commercial mathematics test, and a questionnaire on their attitude to mathematics and their self-concept. Identical tests were given 12 months later, together with a questionnaire on their home background and on their feelings towards their future schooling and career expectations. Correlation analysis was used to identify simple relationships existing between the variables. This then formed a basis for mathematical models of the relationships to be drawn up and tested using causal path analysis. The findings showed overall that the socio-economic status of the home, the sex of the student, the student's self concept, and the student's expectations for future education and career, all had some effect on the student's mathematics achievement and/or change in mathematics achievement during the 12 months either directly or indirectly. These variables also affected a student's attitude to. mathematics, however the attitude variable had no effect on the two main variables. The main finding of the study was that the students who had the greater gain in mathematics achievement during the study were those who had lower score. in mathematics at primary school level, who had lower self concepts and came from the lower socio-economic status homes. This finding lends good support to those who would suggest that the Victorian Technical Schools give a great deal of encouragement and a good educational environment for this type of student.