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Heta Tuominen, Markku Niemivirta, Johan Korhonen, Anna Tapola & Riikka Mononen

Profiles of mathematical skills and motivation among first-grade students

High interest and positive self-concept are often linked to good academic performance, but we still know fairly little about the interplay between and individual differences in interest, self-concept, and math performance in young children. Following a person-oriented approach, the aim of this study was to investigate what kinds of profiles of mathematical skills (i.e., number sense, counting and arithmetic) and motivation (i.e., interest and self-concept) can be identified among children starting school. The participants were 265 Norwegian first-graders (Mage = 6 y 9 mo). Using latent class clustering analysis, four distinct profiles were identified. The largest group (46%) consisted of students who displayed relatively high skills but slightly lower interest than average. In addition, there was a group characterized by relatively high skills and positive motivation (22%) and, in contrast, a group with low skills and negative motivation (21%).

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