Multilevel Modeling of Factors that Influence Mathematics Achievement in Ghana: A Secondary Analysis of TIMSS 2007 and 2011

  • Author / Creator
    Butakor, Paul K
  • The purpose of this study was to examine which student, teacher, and principal variables best explained the performance of the population of Grade 8 students in Ghana. This study was necessitated by the consistent low performance of Ghana’s grade eight students in TIMSS since 2003. Ghana, as a country, ranked second last, second last, and last for the 2003, 2007, and 2011 TIMSS assessments.
    A probability sample of Grade 8 students in a probability sample of schools participated in the TIMSS 2007 (5,294 students nested within 162 schools) and 2011 (7,323 students nested within 160 schools). The students responded to the mathematics achievement test for which a matrix item and student matrix sampling design was used. The students, teachers, and principals responded to their respective questionnaires. Since the students were selected from classes that were nested within schools, HLM analyses were used to analyze the data. However, only one class was selected from each school in each year. Consequently, 2-level HLM analyses were conducted. Prior to the analyses, the maximum likelihood with expectation maximization (EM) algorithm was employed to replace all the missing values at both the student level and teacher/principal level for both 2007 and 2011,and exploratory factor analyses conducted for clusters of similar items in the three questionnaires to reduce the number of predictor variables. The final numbers of variables were 40 student and 40 teacher/principal variables in 2007, and 15 student and 37 teacher/principal variables in 2011. The final parsimonious HLM model contained 20 student variables and five teacher/principal variables which accounted for 27% of the student variance and 51 % of the teacher/principal variance in 2007; the corresponding numbers for 2011 were nine, seven, 20%, and 54%. The change in the number of variables in the final models for the two years is due to changes made in the questionnaires. These changes precluded comparing the 2007 and 2011 results other than to say the variance explained at the student level and at the teacher/principal level were similar in each year (approximately 20% at the student level and 54% at the teacher/principal level). Taken together, it was concluded that lack of proper preparation of teachers in rural areas, questionable school climate and safety, emphasis on lower rather than higher thinking skills, inconsistent use of homework, failure to engage students in their learning, lack of progress of girls, lack of students’ interest and confidence in mathematics, and students’ lower educational aspiration contributed to Ghana’s low performance on the TIMSS 2007 and 2011 assessments. Implications for practice and recommendations for research are provided.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Measurement, Evaluation, and Cognition
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
    • Leighton, Jacqueline P (Educational Psychology)
    • Glanfield, Florence (Secondary Education)
    • Cui, Ying (Educational Psychology)