## Measuring Student Perceptions of Confidence

November 14, 2008

### From Pat Wagener, Can Problem Solving Become a Habit of Mind?

Pat says:

Students’ own perceptions of their math skills and abilities are often considered as anecdotal evidence, rather than factual information that has been quantified. In a meeting at the start of the Fall 2006 semester, this subject came up, and it occurred to me that this need not be the case. So I asked myself:

*“Can students’ perception of their math skills and abilities be quantified, and measured with an acceptable level of statistical significance?” *

And then,

*“What is the research question that would enable me to answer this question?”*

At first I thought to just have students assess their math skills in general. But then as I continued to think about this project, I realized it was important to know as much as possible about their self-assessment in connection with all the elements of the course: Multiple representation of mathematics, group work, solving word problems, computer aided instruction, and students making presentations of their solutions. And so I ended up with eight (8) areas for the students to assess.

A means to address this study was an attempt to quantify and measure each student’s self-assessed confidence learn in eight (8) specific areas or aspects of math and how they learn math. A survey would be given to the students early in the semester (pre-) and late in the semester (post-) to determine the change. These areas are as follows:

** With this method, I found that the anecdotal can become “factual” with a high degree confidence. Here are two key insights: **

**(1) Students’ self-perception changed very significantly in all questions (p-value<<0.01).**

**(2) An area of the greatest change (and most positive comments) was in the role of student presentations and self-confidence.**

#### Click here to get a copy of the confidence survey and read more details about the method and results.

Pre/post Testing, Student Confidence, Uncategorized Comments Off