Mathematics self-efficacy is mostly defined as individuals’ beliefs or perceptions regarding their skills in mathematics (May, 2009). This can also mean that self-efficacy is an assessment of students’ self-confidence about their abilities in understanding concepts and solving problems. According to some researches, achievements in Mathematics are frequently influenced by learners’ self-efficacy and mathematics anxiety. Students with higher levels of self-efficacy tend to be more interested to learn things. If a student is confident that he or she has the ability to solve difficult problems experience a boost in their efficacy beliefs. Usher and Pajares (2009) mentioned in their study that perceived mastery knowledge is a powerful source of students’ mathematics self-efficacy.
Mathematics Self-Efficacy Scale or MSES is the most frequently scale to measure people’s mathematics self-efficacy (May, 2009). This scale is intended to measure one’s confidence concerning the ability to accomplish various math-related tasks. Afterwards, Betz & Hackett (1993) pinpointed three main domains that are related with studying mathematics self-efficacy: solving of mathematics problems, use of mathematics in everyday life, and capability to achieve satisfactory grades in mathematics courses. Participants that will take the MSES will be asked to rate their confidence with their ability in performing 18 mathematical tasks on a scale of 0-9, solving 18 mathematical problems correctly, and get a B or a better score in 16 mathematics-related courses.
Kranzler and Pajares (1997) did a further analysis and revised MSES, introduced to as Mathematics Self-Efficacy Scale-Revised (MSES-R) (Pajares & Miller, 1995). The questions on the MSES-R originated from MSES, but the mathematical problems were changed by questions from arithmetic, algebra, and geometry that come from the Mathematics Confidence Scale (Dowling, 1978). Instead of using on a scale of 0-9 in rating participant’s confidence, on MSES-R, they’re using on a scale of 1-5. The three factors of the MSES-R as revealed by factor analysis are the same with what is in the MSES: mathematical tasks, mathematical problems, and mathematical courses. The only difference is that the mathematical courses were split into two aspects—pure mathematics courses and science courses that need a lot of mathematics.
However, Kranzler and Pajares (1997) advised researchers that it is difficult to allocate and make proper use of an overall score for mathematics self-efficacy. It is also recommended to not use MSES or MSES-R as the only basis in getting one’s mathematics self-efficacy result. It is essential to consider other factors that can be used in calculating a student’s level of mathematics self-efficacy. Students can have, or lack confidence in different areas that involved with mathematics because of the nature of mathematics self-efficacy. If a student’s score is lesser on one factor than the other factor scores on a mathematics self-efficacy scale, his or her overall score can be inaccurate, which can lead researchers in misjudgment of the student’s overall level of mathematics self-efficacy.