Is Victor better than Victoria at Maths?
SourceEducational Psychology in Practice
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The aim of this study was to examine whether there are gender differences in actual maths achievement, in attitudes towards maths, and in relevant achievement attributions among early adolescents. The participants were 255 eighth grade students (mean age 14.2) from 10 randomly selected public junior high schools in Cyprus. They completed a questionnaire that measured their attributions of their own maths achievement and their attitudes towards the subject (how attractive and useful it is). Then they took a maths achievement test and immediately afterwards they reported their affective reactions towards the test (how challenging or threatening they thought it was). No significant differences were found between boys and girls in actual maths achievement. Significant differences were found, however, in the way the two genders explain their performance. Boys tend to believe more than girls do that their intellectual abilities are causing their high marks in maths. Also, it was found that high achievement could predict a positive attitude towards mathematics, but not vice versa. These findings contradict the widespread beliefs that (a) girls are not as good at maths as boys are; and (b) better attitudes towards maths lead to better performance.