Anticipated Date of Graduation

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences


Mathematical Sciences

First Advisor

Douglas Darbro


The effects of bilingualism, socioeconomic status, parental education, parental income, and a child’s positive attitude on mathematical achievement have been quite disputed topics during the past decades. Using the foundations of Cummins’ threshold and developmental interdependence hypotheses, Coleman’s theory on social capital, Vygotsky’s theory on language, and the functional attitude theory, this study investigates if and how effectively these attributes predict mathematical achievement in fourth-grade students. Using the latest iteration of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, multiple regression models evaluate the consequences of multiple language use, individual social standing, and positive attitude effects on mathematical achievement with a large sample size including seven countries. With exceptions in country comparisons, the results yielded no mathematical achievement advantages for bilinguals, supporting Strobel’s 2016 study. However, extreme achievement benefits emerged from students who possessed positive attitudes towards mathematics, at least one highly educated parent, and at least one parent obtaining a high income. Additionally, no net gains surfaced from regression models including multiple language use and positive attitudes, presenting new findings in this area of research. These results imply parental education/income are crucial in early development and positive attitudes are highly contagious, both increasing mathematical achievement in young children.

Included in

Mathematics Commons