Relationships among Attitudes, Coping Strategies, and Achievement in Doctoral-Level Statistics Courses: A Mixed Research Study
Because of the important role that attitudes toward statistics and motivation have played in statistics courses, Ramirez, Emmioglu, and Schau (2010) recently conceptualized that Eccles and Wigfield’s (2002) Expectancy-Value Model (EVM) is applicable for students enrolled in statistics courses. However, to date, the applicability of the EVM for understanding students’ attitudes toward statistics has not been tested empirically. Thus, the purpose of this mixed research study was twofold: (a) to build on Ramirez et al.’s (2010) conceptualization by testing the EVM as a viable framework for understanding the statistics learning context; and (b) to examine the role that coping strategies play within the EVM framework by exploring interrelationships among attitudes, coping strategies, and statistics achievement. A qualitative-dominant mixed research design was used. Specifically, 18 doctoral students who had recently taken a statistics class participated in three in-depth focus groups. The ensuing qualitative data were supplemented by quantitative data via scores from a measure of coping strategies used in statistics courses that was administered to all participants. The qualitative and quantitative data provided strong support for the EVM. Moreover, the emergence of five coping strategies themes suggested the appropriateness of expanding the EVM to a more solution-focused model, namely, the Expectancy-Value Coping Strategies (EVCS) model, wherein coping strategies mediate the relationship between statistics attitudes and statistics achievement.