The Effect of Teacher Beliefs on Student Competence in Mathematical Modeling – An Intervention Study

Christoph Mischo, Katja Maaß


This paper presents an intervention study whose aim was to promote teacher beliefs about mathematics and learning mathematics and student competences in mathematical modeling. In the intervention, teachers received written curriculum materials about mathematical modeling. The concept underlying the materials was based on constructivist ideas and findings from mathematics education. Teacher beliefs about mathematics, learning and self-efficacy were expected to have a major impact on their classroom practices. We therefore assessed teacher beliefs about the usefulness of mathematics, learning (constructivist and socio-constructivist beliefs) and teacher self-efficacy when teaching modeling (teacher or class level variable). The student level variables assessed were modeling competence and other individual factors, such as basic mathematical skills and cognitive abilities.

The effectiveness of the intervention was measured in a pre-post control group design using multilevel structural equation modeling. The results showed no direct effect of the intervention on student modeling competence. However, they did reveal that the intervention had a significant effect on teacher beliefs about learning (constructivist and socio-constructivist view) and an effect of these teacher beliefs about learning on student modeling competence. Further, the results showed that students’ gains in modeling competence is not only mediated by teacher beliefs, but also influenced by individual factors. Implications for teaching as well as limitations of the study are discussed.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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