The purpose of this study is to evaluate the influence of students’ attitudes towards mathematics, mathematics self-concept and socio-economic status on their performance in Timss mathematics test. It also examined the relevance of the different schools’ characteristics for the prediction of students’ performance. We analyzed data related to 3997 Italian students of 170 schools, a representative sample of students in eight grade school, that participated to the Timss 2007. A multilevel analysis was conducted to distinguish how much of the variability of performance was due to student characteristics and/or to characteristics of schools and of the territorial context in which schools are located. The results showed that self-concept in mathematics helps to explain the differences in performance in mathematics. Further, the socio-economic status, at school level, contributed to the prediction of the performance in mathematics. Furthermore, in the Italian context, significant differences in performance depending on geographic area were evidenced.
Keywords: Mathematics achievement, mathematics self-concept, socio-economic status, multilevel regression analysis, Timss