Implicit theories of ability, homework behavior, and achievement

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Implicit theories of ability, homework behavior, and achievement

This study investigated how student implicit theories of math ability relate to theirhomework behavior and the mediational role of homework behavior in the relationship betweenimplicit theories and math achievement. A large sample of Singapore secondary students tookmeasures of entity (i.e., ability is fixed) and incremental (i.e., ability is modifiable through effort)theories of math ability as well as homework effort and distraction during the second term of aschool year. They then took a math assessment about 3-5 months later. We did structuralequation modeling and found that homework behavior partially mediated the relationshipsbetween implicit theories and math achievement. After controlling for gender and previous mathachievement, an entity theory of math ability was positively associated with homeworkdistraction, while an incremental theory of math ability was positively associated with homeworkeffort and negatively with homework distraction. Homework effort in turn positively andhomework distraction negatively predicted math achievement. An entity theory of math abilitypredicted negatively math achievement both directly and indirectly through homeworkdistraction. In contrast, an incremental theory of math ability predicted positively mathachievement through the mediation of homework effort and distraction. The findings andimplications for homework practices are discussed in the academic context of Singapore.Keywords: Implicit theories, homework behavior, achievement

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