An exploration of preservice teachers’ educational values of mathematics in relation to gender and attitudes toward mathematics in Nigeria
Adeneye O. A. Awofala 1 * , Omotayo Ojaleye 2
More Detail
1 Department of Science and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos
2 Department of Mathematics, Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State
* Corresponding Author


The study investigated educational values of mathematics in relation to gender and attitudes toward mathematics among 480 Nigerian preservice mathematics teachers from four universities in Southwest, Nigeria using the quantitative research method within the blueprint of the descriptive survey design. Data collected were analysed using the descriptive statistics of frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation and inferential statistics of independent samples t-test, Pearson moment correlation, and multiple regression analysis. Findings revealed that preservice mathematics teachers showed high level of educational value of mathematics. There were significant possible correlations among preservice mathematics teachers’ practical value, aesthetic value, cultural value, social value, moral value, disciplinary value, recreational value, and attitudes toward mathematics. While gender differences in some dimensions of educational value of mathematics (practical value, disciplinary value, social value, and cultural value) are no longer important and are declining there are subtle gender differences in attitudes toward mathematics and educational values of mathematics in this study. In addition, 73.7% of the variance in preservice teachers’ attitudes toward mathematics was accounted for by the eight predictor variables (gender, practical or utilitarian value, disciplinary value, cultural value, social value, moral value, aesthetic value and recreational value) taken together. Based on this baseline study, it was thus, recommended that future studies in Nigeria should investigate the educational value of mathematics of in-service teachers with varied ethnicity and socio-economic background so as to generalise the results of this study.



  • Awofala, A. O. A. (2017). Assessing senior secondary school students’ mathematical proficiency as related to gender and performance in mathematics in Nigeria. International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 3(2), 488-502. DOI: 10.21890/ijres.327908.
  • Awofala, A. O. A. (2016). Examining preservice mathematics teachers’ attitudes toward mathematics. Nigerian Journal of Curriculum Studies, 23, 292-300.
  • Awofala, A. O. A. (2000). The status of mathematics teaching and learning in primary schools at the year 2000. An unpublished B.Ed Project, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
  • Awofala, A. O. A., Arigbabu, A. A. & Awofala, A. A. (2013). Effects of framing and team assisted individualised instructional strategies on senior secondary school students’ attitudes toward mathematics. Acta Didactica Napocensia, 6(1), 1-22.
  • Atweh, B., & Seah, W. T. (2008, February).Theorizing values and their study in mathematics education. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Fremantle, Australia.
  • Bishop, A. J. (1988). Mathematical enculturation: A cultural perspective on mathematics education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Bishop, A. J. (1991). Mathematical values in the teaching process. In A. J. Bishop, S. Mellin-Olsen & J. V. Dormolen (Eds.), Mathematical knowledge: Its growth through teaching (pp. 195-214). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Bishop, A. J. (1996). How should mathematics teaching in modern societies relate to cultural values --- some preliminary questions. Paper presented at the Seventh Southeast Asian Conference on Mathematics Education, Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Bishop, A. J. (2001). What values do you teach when you teach mathematics? Teaching Children Mathematics, 7(6), 346 -349.
  • Bishop, A. J. (2004, July). Critical issues in researching cultural aspects of mathematics education. Paper presented in Discussion Group 2 at the 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Copenhagen, Denmark, 4-11.
  • Bishop, A. J., FitzSimons, G. E., Seah, W. T., & Clarkson, P. (2001). Do teachers implement their intended values in mathematics classrooms? In M. van den Heuvel-Panhuizen (Ed.), Proceedings of the XXV Annual Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics, Utrecht: The Netherlands. 2: 169-177.
  • Bishop, A. J., FitzSimons, G. E., Seah, W. T., & Clarkson, P. C. (1999). Values in mathematics education. Paper presented at the combined AARE/NZARE conference, Melbourne.
  • Bishop, A. (2008). Values in mathematics and science education: Similarities and differences. The Mathematics Enthusiast, 5(1), 47-58.
  • Casey, M. B., Nuttall, R. L., & Pezaris, E. (2001). Spatial-mechanical reasoning skills versus mathematical self-confidence as mediators of gender differences on mathematics subtests using cross-national gender-based items. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(1), 28-57.
  • Chin, C., Leu, Y.-C., & Lin, F.-L. (2001). Pedagogical values, mathematics teaching, and teacher education: Case studies of two experienced teachers. In F.-L. Lin & T. J. Cooney (Eds.), Making sense of mathematics teacher education (pp. 247-269).Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Dede Y. (2009). Turkish preservice mathematics teachers’ mathematical values: positivist and constructivist values. Scientific Research and Essays. 4, 1229 -1235.
  • Dede, Y. (2014). A comparison of Turkish and German mathematics teachers’ values: A gender perspective. Education and Science, 39(171), 180-198.
  • Demirhan, İ. C., & Senemoglu, N. (2009). Effectiveness of values education curriculum for fourth grades. Education and Science, 34(153).
  • Durmuş, S., & Bıçak, B. (2006, July). A scale for mathematics and mathematical values of pre-service teachers. Paper presented at the Third International Conference on the Teaching of Mathematics (ICTM 3), Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Durmus, S., Bıçak, B. & Çakır, S. (2007, September). Fen ve teknoloji, matematik ve sınıf öğretmenlerinde matematik ve matematik değerlerine yönelik bir ölçek. 16. Ulusal Egitim Bilimleri Kongresi, Gaziosmanpasa Üniversitesi Egitim Fakültesi, Eylül, Tokat, Turkey.
  • Ernest, P. (1998). Social constructivism as a philosophy of mathematics. Albany NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Ernest, P. (1995). Values, gender and images of mathematics: A philosophical perspective, International Journal for Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 26(3), 449-462.
  • Ernest, P. (2004). What is the philosophy of mathematics education?. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, 18,
  • Ernest, P. (2007). The philosophy of mathematics, values and keralese mathematics. The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, 4(2), 174 -187.
  • Fitzsimons, G. E., Seah, W. T., Bishop, A. J., & Clarkson, P. C. (2000a). Conceptions of values and mathematics education held by Australian primary teachers: Preliminary findings from VAMP. Paper presented at History and Philosophy of Mathematics conference, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Fitzsimons, G. E., Seah, W.T., Bishop, A. J. & Clarkson, P. C. (2000b). What might be learned from researching values in mathematics education? In T. Nakahara & M. Koyama (eds.), Proceedings of the 24th conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Hiroshima: Hiroshima University.
  • FitzSimons, G., Seah, W., Bishop, A.J., & Clarkson, P. (2001, July). Beyond numeracy: values in the mathematics classroom. 24th Annual MERGA Conference, Sydney, Australia.
  • Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women's development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Gudmundsdottir, S. (1990). Values in pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Teacher Education, 41(3), 44-52.
  • Hart, L. (1989). Describing the affective domain: saying what we mean. In Mc Leod & Adams (Eds.) Affect and Mathematical Problem Solving (pp.37-45). New York: Springer Verlag.
  • Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations, software of the mind. Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
  • Hyde, J. S., Fennema, E., & Lamon, S., (1990). Gender differences in mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 139-155.
  • Koballa, T. R. & Glynn, S. M. (2007). Attitudinal and motivational constructs in science learning. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 75-102.
  • Le Métais, J. (1997). Values and aims underlying curriculum and assessment. (International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Paper 1). London: School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
  • Leder, G & Forgasz, H. J. (2006). Affect and mathematics education. In: Gutiérrez A, Boero P (eds.), Handbook of research on the psychology of mathematics education: Past, present and future. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense, pp. 403-427.
  • Lim, C. S. & Ernest, P. (1998, February). A survey of public images of mathematics. Paper presented at British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics. Retrieved from [January 3, 2011]
  • McGraw, R., Lubienski, S. T., & Strutchens, M. E. (2006). A closer look at gender in NAEP mathematics achievement and affect data: Intersections with achievement, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 37(2), 129-150.
  • McLeod, D. B. (1992). Research on affect in mathematics education: A reconceptualization. In D. A. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research on Mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 575-596). New York: Macmillan.
  • Osler, A., & Starkey, H. (2001). Legal perspectives on values, culture and education: human rights, responsibilities and values in education, in: J.Cairns, D.Lawton and R.Gardner (eds), Values, Culture and Education (pp. 85-103), London, Kogan Page.
  • Österling, L. (2013). To survey what students value in mathematics learning. Translation and adaptation to Swedish language and context of an international survey, focusing on what students find important in mathematics learning. Master Thesis, Stockholm Universitet.
  • Pajares, F. & Graham, L. (1999). Self-efficacy, motivation constructs, and mathematics performance of entering middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 124-139.
  • Pathania, A. (2011). Teachers’ role in quality enhancement and value education. Academe Journal, 14(1), 19-26.
  • Powe, K. W. (1993). Values education and the local school board. Updating School Board Policies, 24(6), 1-4.
  • Raths, L. E., Harmin, M., & Simon, S. B. (1987). Selections from ‘values and teaching’. In J. P. F. Carbone (Ed.), Value theory and education (pp. 198-214). Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger.
  • Seah, W. T. (2003). Understanding mathematics classroom experiences through the values lens. Paper presented at the Research Pre-session of the 81st Annual Meeting of the National, San Council of Teachers of Mathematics Antonio, TX.
  • Seah, W. T. (2008).Valuing values in mathematics education. In P. Clarkson & N. Presmeg (Eds.), Critical issues in mathematics education: Major contributions of Alan Bishop (pp. 239–252). New York: Springer.
  • Seah, W. T.& Bishop, A. J. (1999). Realizing a mathematics education for nation-building in Southeast Asia in the new millennium [CD-ROM]. In S. P. Loo (Ed.), proceedings of the MERA-ERA Joint Conference (vol. 3, pp. 1241 -1249). Malaysia and Singapore: Malaysian Educational Research Association and Educational Research Association Singapore.
  • Seah, W. T., & Bishop, A. (2001). Teaching more than numeracy: The socialisation experience of a migrant teacher. In J. Bobis, B. Perry, & M. Mitchelmore (Eds.), Numeracy and beyond. (pp. 442-450). Turramurra, NSW: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Incorporated.
  • Seah, W. T., Bishop, A. J., FitzSimons, G. E., & Clarkson P. C. (2001). Exploring issues of control over values teaching in the mathematics classroom. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, Fremantle, Australia.
  • Swadener, M. R. & Soedjadi, R. (1988). Values, Mathematics Education and the Task of Developing Pupils’ Personalities: An Indonesian Perspective. Educational Studies in Mathematics 19(2), 193-208.
  • Tapia, M. (1996). The attitudes toward mathematics instrument. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (Tuscaloosa, AL, November 6-8, 1996).
  • Thomaskutty, P. G. & George, M. (2007). Mathematics and civil society. Retrieved from [July 13, 2017].


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.