The aim of the present study was to identify children’s conceptions of learning mathematics and to assess the identified conceptions. Children’s conceptions are identified by interviewing 73 grade 5 students in Taiwan. The interviews are analyzed using qualitative data analysis methods, which results in a structure of 5 major conceptions, each having 2 subconceptions: constructivist (interest and understanding), interpretivist (liberty and innovation), objectivist (academic goal and perseverance), nativist (confidence and anxiety (reverse)), and pragmatist (vocational goal and application). The conceptions are assessed with a self-developed questionnaire, titled “the Conception of Learning Mathematics Questionnaire” (CLMQ), which is administered to 513 grade 5 students in Taiwan and examined with a reliability measure, confirmatory factor analysis, and correlations with 2 criteria: mathematics achievement and approaches to learning mathematics. The results show that the CLMQ has desirable internal consistency reliability and construct validity. The conceptions are also sensibly in relation to the 2 criteria, suggesting that the CLMQ is a valid measure for evaluating the quality of children’s learning mathematics in relation to teaching contexts.
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10(1), 163-191