Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2012


Original scientific paper

The Role of Gender Stereotypes and Motivation in the Explanation of Mathematics Achievement and Anxiety


Ivana Jugović - Centre for Educational Research and Development, Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, Zagreb
Branislava Baranović - Centre for Educational Research and Development, Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, Zagreb
Iris Marušić - Centre for Educational Research and Development, Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 65-79).pdf


Abstracts
The goal of this research was to test gender differences in academic achievement in mathematics and in mathematics anxiety, and to explore the factors that explain mathematics achievement and anxiety. According to the expectancy-value theory (Eccles, 1983) educational choices and achievement are determined by motivational variables such as expectancy of success, intrinsic and utility values, and perceived task difficulty. In addition, gender stereotypes about academic domains are considered important predictors of academic achievement. The sample consisted of 693 8th grade pupils. Instruments assessing expectancy of success, self-concept of one’s abilities, perceived task difficulty, interest and utility value, stereotypes about mathematics as a male domain, and belief that anybody can be good at mathematics, were used in this research. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to examine which of these variables predicted mathematics achievement and anxiety. The results have shown that girls fear mathematics more than boys, despite their higher mathematics achievement. Expectancy of success was the strongest predictor of academic achievement in mathematics: those pupils who expected higher success and thought of themselves as more competent in mathematics had higher grades. As expectancy-value theory predicts, stereotype had a negative effect on girls’ achievement and a positive effect on boys’ achievement in the first step of the regression analysis. Perceived difficulty of mathematics was the strongest predictor of mathematics anxiety. Pupils, who considered mathematics as more difficult, feared it more. The results have also shown that girls fear mathematics more if they endorse stereotypes about mathematics as a male domain.

Keywords
motivation for mathematics, gender stereotypes, mathematics anxiety, expectancy-value theory



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