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Tatiana Khavenson1, Ekaterina Orel1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Dispositional Factors of Attitudes towards Statistics in Social Science Students: Perseverance and Academic Motivation

2014. Vol. 11. No. 3. P. 37–54 [issue contents]

This paper describes the results of examining the relationship between attitudes towards statistics and academic motivation and perseverance in sociology students. Often, in everyday understanding, social sciences are identified with the humanities and therefore are considered as not requiring specific mathematical training. Such attitudes in social sciences students can lead to a decrease in their learning effectiveness and result in academic issues that could even lead to their expulsion. To measure attitudes towards statistics we used SATS-34, which covers a wide range of attitudes to both the academic subject and to statistics in general. The results showed that, based on the combination of various aspects of the attitude, the students can be divided into three types: those interested in mastering statistics, those who are nominally interested, and those who are uninterested in the subject. The groups differ in the level of perseverance and the prevailing academic motivation. In addition, significant differences between groups were found in the expected and actual grades in the course. The article concludes that attitudes towards statistics are related to both psychological characteristics of students and to the level of course mastery. The differences between the groups were significant notwithstanding the hard and regular monitoring and the high importance of the course in the curriculum, i.e. the hardness of control does not negate the contribution of psychological factors in the learning effectiveness. We assume that the differences between the groups would have been even more pronounced in a more relaxed learning environment.

Citation: Khavenson, T.E., & Orel, E. A. (2014). Dispositional Factors of Attitudes towards Statistics in Social Science Students: Perseverance and Academic Motivation. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 11(3), 37-54 
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