Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Ed Psychology and Research


Educational Psychology

Committee Member

Denise Winsor


For decades, the achievement gap across White, Black, and Hispanic students has yet to be reduced, with White students consistently outperforming Black and Hispanic students on standardized mathematics assessments (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2017). In order to reduce this gap, achievement motivation scholars have been studying the multifaceted ways in which cognitive factors may influence academic outcomes, especially for students who have traditionally been under-examined and underserved (Borman, & Overman, 2004; Borman & Dowling, 2010). Eccles, Wigfield (e.g., Eccles, 2007; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000), and Middleton and colleagues (Middleton, 2013; Middleton & Spanias, 1999; Middleton & Toluk, 1999) have shown that the interactions of efficacy beliefs, self-concept, and task value can have a profound effect on academic outcomes. Using Eccles et al.’s (1983) and Middleton’s (2013) work as a foundation, the present study set forth with two goals: 1) to expand Middleton’s model by relying on Eccles’ work and 2) to test the model across White, Black, and Hispanic students in order to better understand similarities and differences in how motivation functions to impact the math performance of students within these ethnic groups. Participants were 18,214 ninth-graders in 944 schools supported by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) for goal #1 and for goal #2, 15,651 Black, Hispanic, & White adolescents of the 18,214 students utilized in goal #1. All students were from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS: 09; Ingels et al., 2011). Results showed that for goal #1 the proposed model adequately fit the data. For goal #2, the proposed model was valid for White, Black, and Hispanic students, but significant differences were found in how math interest and math self-efficacy influence other motivational variables across these groups of students. Results are discussed in terms of their utility in informing educational practices, limitations, and future directions.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.