Majed Saeed Alharthi


Many students in Saudi Arabia complain that they achieve poor results in mathematics and appear to have a negative attitude toward the subject. The current study, therefore, investigates students’ attitudes towards mathematics, using a mixed method approach, in 13-16 years old students from the intermediate level of education. The age was important because this period is thought to be crucial to the formation of lasting attitudes and opinions. The first main research question, the study aims to address is therefore, “What are students’ attitudes towards mathematics in Saudi middle schools?” The study also aims to explore gender issues using a second research question, “Is there any significant gender difference in students’ attitudes towards mathematics?” The survey was conducted in two government-run middle schools in Saudi Arabia, one boys’ school and one girls’ school, because Saudi Arabia has an exclusively single-sex education system. 180 participants (90 boys and 90 girls) were asked to complete a questionnaire to show their views about mathematics. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected at the same time, but the analysis of each type of information was conducted separately to enable the full picture to be understood. T-test was used to explore any gender differences. The main findings were that both male and female students in two Saudi middle schools show a positive attitude towards mathematics, with female students being slightly more positive than males. The factors which affect attitudes towards mathematics in both genders include the usefulness of mathematics in everyday and future life and career, the teacher, enjoyment of mathematics and the difficulty of the subjects. Girls’ attitudes towards mathematics were also affected by the influence of social media personalities and internet teachers. 


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