Martin Banda, Beatrice Mumbi Mwansa


This study was centred on ascertaining individual factors which influence the development of negative Mathematics self-concept in girls. The research was based on a single case study and utilized the qualitative research approach. The sample consisted of a total of 18 participants. Thus, a sample of seven grade 11 girls with low Mathematics self-concept, seven parents to the girls and four teachers of Mathematics at the school were purposively selected from Mwabonwa (pseudonym) Girls’ Secondary School situated in a rural area of Central Province of Zambia. In-depth interviews were conducted with girls, teachers and parents. A focus group discussion was held with pupils only and a document review to understand pupils’ statuses and their past academic performance was employed. Data was analysed with the use of the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) Method. A number of indicators revealed two key individual factors influencing low Mathematics self-concept in girls. These factors include: girls’ negative perceptions of Mathematics and poor Mathematics background. In a nutshell, these findings show that to understand the low self-concept girls have in Mathematics one had to appreciate the individual experiences of the girls in the subject.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


negative Mathematics self-concept; family and community; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

Full Text:



Chiu, M. M., Klassen, R. M. (2008). Relations of mathematics self-concept and its calibration with Mathematics achievement: Cultural differences among fifteen-year-olds in 34 Countries, Learning and Instruction Volume 20, Issue 1. (2010) 2-17. Retrieved on 18/04/2014 from

Chituka A. (2013). Statistical Analysis Report of the 2012 Grade 12 Exam Analysis-unpublished.

Cvencek, K. D., Meltzoff, A. N., Greenwald, A. G. (2010). Math-Gender stereotypes in elementary school children. Child Development May-Jun 2011;82(3):766-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01529.x.

Deku, P. Amponsah, M. O., Opoku, P. (2013). The Influence of Teachers’ Classroom Practices on the Self-Concept of Primary School Pupils with Disabilities. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies (JETERAPS) 4(4), 627-636

Hamachek, D. (1995). Self-concept and school achievement: Interaction dynamics and a tool for assessing the self-concept component. Journal of Counseling & Development, 73(4), 419-425.

Kiamanesh, A. R. & Kheirieh, M. (2001). Trends in mathematics educational inputs and outputs in Iran: Findings from the third international mathematics and science study and its repeat. Tehran: Institute for Educational Research Publication.

Kruger & Kingry (1990). Handout notes on qualitative research. Unpublished notes.

Lee, K. H., & Sriraman, B. (2012). Gifted Girls and Nonmathematical Aspirations: A Longitudinal Case Study of Two Gifted Korean Girls. Gifted Child Quarterly,56, 3 DOI: 10.1177/0016986211426899. Retrieved on 04/06/2014

Marsh, H. W. (1992). Content specificity of relations between academic achievement and academic self-concept. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 35–42.

Meulenberg- Buskens, I. (1997). Free attitude interview Manual 1. Research for the future. Unpublished notes.

Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MOESTVEE)-Central Province 2014 Grade 12 Examination Analysis Report of 2015. Unpublished.

Mujtaba, T., Hodgson, A., & Reiss, M. (2013). What Factors Affect London Students’ Aspirations to Continue with Mathematics Post-16? Institute of Education 1. Retrieved on 18/04/2014 from

Munsaka, E. (2001). An Investigation into the Relationship between Girls’ and Boys’ Self-concept and Performance in Mathematics and Science. Masters Dissertation, University of Zambia, Lusaka.

Munsaka, E., & Matafwali, B. (2013). Human Development from Conception to Adolescence: Typical and Atypical Trends. Lusaka: University of Zambia Press.

Mwabonwa Girls Secondary School. (2015). Minutes of the Management Meeting held on 19 February 2015. Unpublished.

Nherera C. M. (Ed) (1999). Capacity Building in Educational Research in Southern Africa. pp 195-216. Harare: IDRC/CRDI.

Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. School Strategic Plan (2011-2015).

Sayers, R. (1991). Girls and their Mathematics: The case of Zambia. M.Ed. Thesis-unpublished. University of Leeds.

Suliman, S. (2004). The Role of Self-concept in Academic Performance among Grade Eleven Pupils, Masters Dissertation, University of Zambia, Lusaka.

Tembon, M. & Fort, L. (eds) (2008). Girls’ Education in the 21st Century, The World Bank.

Willig, C. (2001). Introducing qualitative research in psychology: Adventures in theory and method. New York: Open University Press.

Wilkins, J. M. (2004). Mathematics and science self-concept: An international investigation. The Journal of Experimental Education, 72(4), 331–346.

Wolf, A. (2002). Does education matter? Myths about education and economic growth. London, UK: Penguin.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Martin Banda, Beatrice Mumbi Mwansa

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2018. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).