Students’ engagement profiles in mathematics according to learning environment dimensions: Developing an evidence base for best practice in mathematics education

Helen M.G. Watt, Colin Carmichael, Rosemary Callingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The Best Practice in Mathematics Education project was funded by the Australian Office of the Chief Scientist, to examine promotion of students’ learning, engagement and aspirations in this core learning domain. We draw upon cross-sectional survey data from 551 students in grades three to nine to examine how students’ mathematics engagement relates to key dimensions of their learning climate (mastery or performance focused classrooms), teacher enthusiasm, and school caring. Engagement is known to be associated with positive school outcomes and influenced by environmental factors. Less known is whether, and the extent to which, students have different profiles of engagement across component dimensions (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004); and, how profiles may differ according to experienced environment dimensions. We first develop profiles of adolescents’ behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement using multilevel latent class analysis, educing three profiles of ‘engaged’, ‘compliant’, and ‘disengaged’ students, who systematically differed on experienced environmental factors. Mastery focused classrooms, enthusiastic teachers and caring school environment were experienced most by engaged, and least by disengaged students; performance focused classrooms were unrelated to engagement profiles. Identified patterns will be of particular use to teachers in understanding how class, teacher, and school influences together shape students’ own engagement in mathematics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-183
Number of pages18
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • engagement
  • latent profile analysis
  • learning environment
  • mathematics education
  • motivation

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