Antoine FischbachMartin BrunnerStefan KraussJürgen Baumert

Mathematics teachers’ frame of reference at the end of lower secondary school: Convergence of measures across methods and effects on motivational-affective aspects of students’ mathematics learning and achievement


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Teachers differ in the frame of reference they apply to evaluate students’ performances. Previous research found positive effects of an ipsative frame of reference on students’ achievement and achievement motivation. In the present study we investigated the generalizability of previous results with longitudinal data (9th and 10th grade) from the COACTIV study (NStudents = 2,465; NTeachers = 106). The teacher frame of reference was assessed by means of a multi-method approach to study the differential effects on student achievement in mathematics and on various key aspects of their achievement motivation. Statistical analyses were conducted separately for the highest and intermediate academic track. Correlation analyses showed that measures of teachers’ frame of reference converged only modestly across different methods of assessment. Results of hierarchical linear models showed that many motivational-affective student characteristics had only modest variability on the class level. The frame of reference effects were small and most of them were not statistically significant. Furthermore, results were inconsistent across frame of reference assessment methods and academic tracks. Future research should address modeling and measurement issues of teachers’ frame of reference, and tackle how to analyze effects of learning environments when the variables of interest show only moderate variability on the class level.

Teacher frame of reference; PISA; Multilevel modeling; Educational assessment