Similarities and Differences in Math-Related Motivation and Intention to Pursue Math in the Future: A Cross-National Study in the United States and South Korea Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Hwang, Hyeyoung
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Research on adolescents’ academic motivation has examined predictors of academic behavior for several decades. Guided by expectancy-value theories of academic motivation (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000), this study examined the relations between motivational beliefs and intentions to pursue math in the future, with a particular focus on the mediating role of current math performance. The study also explored cross-national cultural similarities and differences in these relations, using samples of 15-year-old U.S. and South Korean adolescents. The target sample included a total of three thousand (N= 3,341) 15-year-old adolescents (1,689 South Korean sample and 1,652 U.S. sample), who participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of 2012. Results provided evidence that expectancy beliefs (i.e., math self-concept) and value beliefs (i.e., math interest and math utility value) were directly associated with future intentions to pursue mathematics for South Korean and U.S. student samples. The mediating role of current math performance in explaining these relations was only documented for the U.S. sample but not South Korean sample. Math self-concept was associated with math performance for both samples; however, there was a positive association between math utility and math performance for only South Korean sample. Consistent with prior research, there was a positive relation between math performance and math intentions, as well as a negative relation between math anxiety and math performance. These predicted relations were found for the U.S. sample of adolescents, but similar relations were not evident for the South Korean sample. This study adds to motivation research by addressing the unique influence of various motivation constructs in explaining adolescents’ academic choices and by providing insights into the accumulation of knowledge in the expectancy-value model of achievement motivation for a cross-national perspective.
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  • In Copyright
  • Rong, Xue Lan
  • Byun, Soo-yong
  • Ware, William
  • Meece, Judith L.
  • Greene, Jeffrey
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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