A study published in Learning and Individual Differences investigated factors influencing middle school students’ help-seeking in doing math homework in China.
Jianxia Du at the University of Macau examined 796 8th graders from 46 classes. Four fifths of participating students had math assignments 4 or more days per week, and they spent an average of 34 minutes per day on math homework.
Eight individual-level variables were found to be positively associated with help-seeking: mastery orientation, homework interest, family help availability, peer participation, performance orientation, monitoring motivation, value belief and family help frequency. Mastery orientation and home interest were also positively associated with help-seeking at the class level.
The authors suggested the following:
- Greater emphasis should be placed on mastery orientation to encourage help-seeking, and teachers play a vital role in making this emphasis.
- Teachers should make math homework more engaging and purposeful and should guide students to learn to maintain homework motivation to promote help-seeking.
- Parents’ availability during their children’s homework process matters for students’ help-seeking, and teachers should encourage parents to make themselves available.
- A norm of peer involvement and support should be nurtured by teachers and parents. Students should be provided with opportunities to discuss, share and reflect on their learning and homework, and encouraged to learn how to clarify and elaborate upon peers’ perspectives.