Comparative study of primary school students’ values in mathematics learning in Ghana and Australia

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Valuing in mathematics education continues to attract the attention of mathematics educators and researchers worldwide. Many studies have compared what students value in mathematics across countries, however, such research has focused disproportionately on countries that are relatively high performing on international assessments such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), particularly East Asian countries. Neither lower-performing countries more generally, nor the African context in particular, has been a frequent focus of comparative values research. To address this gap, the Values Alignment Survey (VAS) was administered to 674 Ghanaian and Australian primary school students. Results show that although the majority of students in both countries report positive valuing of mathematics. Ghanaian students were more likely to endorse certain statements on the VAS compared with their Australian counterparts. A general trend of girls being more likely to endorse VAS items than boys across both Australian and Ghanaian participant groups was also noticed. Parental expectations also had the largest mean difference across gender amongst Australian girls and boys and challenges the stereotype that parents are likely to have higher expectations of boys’ performance in mathematics than girls. It was also particularly noteworthy that Ghanaian girls are more likely to agree that they would like a job involving mathematics than Ghanaian boys, given the additional stereotype that girls are less inclined to be interested in mathematical occupations and mathematics in general, compared with boys. Implications of these findings for policy and future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationValues and Valuing in Mathematics Education
Subtitle of host publicationMoving Forward into Practice
EditorsYüksel Dede, Gosia Marschall, Philip Clarkson
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789819994540
ISBN (Print)9789819994533
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • mathematics education
  • values
  • comparative study
  • Australia
  • Ghana

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