This study investigated whether an intervention including an online game contributed to 236 Grade 6 students' performance in early algebra, that is, solving problems with covarying quantities. An exploratory quasi-experimental study was conducted with a pretest-posttest-control-group design. Students in the experimental group were asked to solve at home a number of problems by playing an online game. Although boys outperformed girls in early algebra performance on the pretest as well as on the posttest, boys and girls profited equally from the intervention. Implications of these results for educational practice are discussed.
Angeliki Kolovou, Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, and Olaf Köller
Rebecca McGraw, Sarah Thuele Lubienski, and Marilyn E. Strutchens
In this article we describe gender gaps in mathematics achievement and attitude as measured by the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 1990 to 2003. Analyzing relationships among achievement and mathematical content, student proficiency and percentile levels, race, and socioeconomic status (SES), we found that gender gaps favoring males (1) were generally small but had not diminished across reporting years, (2) were largest in the areas of measurement, number and operations (in Grades 8 and 12) and geometry (in Grade 12), (3) tended to be concentrated at the upper end of the score distributions, and (4) were most consistent for White, high-SES students and non-existent for Black students. In addition, we found that female students' attitudes and self-concepts related to mathematics continued to be more negative than those of male students.
Olaf Köller, Jürgen Baumert, and Kai Schnabel
A total of n = 602 students (59.5% female) from academically selected schools in Germany were tested at three time points—end of Grade 7, end of Grade 10, and middle of Grade 12—in order to investigate the relationships between academic interest and achievement in mathematics. In addition, sex differences in achievement, interest, and course selection were analyzed. At the end of Grade 10, students opted for either a basic or an advanced mathematics course. Data analyses revealed sex differences in favor of boys in mathematics achievement, interest, and opting for an advanced mathematics course. Further analyses by means of structural equation modeling show that interest had no significant effect on learning from Grade 7 to Grade 10, but did affect course selection—that is, highly interested students were more likely to choose an advanced course. Furthermore, interest at the end of Grade 10 had a direct and an indirect effect (via course selection) on achievement in upper secondary school. In addition, results suggest that, at least from Grade 7 to Grade 10, achievement affected interest—that is, high achievers expressed more interest than low achievers. The findings underline the importance of interest for academic choices and for self-regulated learning when the instructional setting is less structured.
Helen J. Forgasz, Gilah C. Leder, and Paul L. Gardner
The Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scales (MAS) have been used extensively in research on gender differences in mathematics learning outcomes. The MAS comprise 9 scales measuring attitudes related to mathematics learning, including Mathematics as a Male Domain. The construct “mathematics as a male domain” remains a critical variable in explorations of the continued disadvantage experienced by females in the field of mathematics. We present recent research evidence that indicates that several items in the Mathematics as a Male Domain scale of the MAS may no longer be valid. In light of this evidence, it is appropriate to consider revisions to the scale to ensure that it continues to measure accurately its originally operationalized construct.
Indigo Esmonde and Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna
In this article, mathematics classrooms are conceptualized as heterogeneous spaces in which multiple figured worlds come into contact. The study explores how a group of high school students drew upon several figured worlds as they navigated mathematical discussions. Results highlight 3 major points. First, the students drew on 2 primary figured worlds: a mathematics learning figured world and a figured world of friendship and romance. Both of these figured worlds were racialized and gendered, and were actively constructed and contested by the students. Second, these figured worlds offered resources for 1 African American student, Dawn, to position herself powerfully within classroom hierarchies. Third, these acts of positioning allowed Dawn to engage in mathematical practices such as conjecturing, clarifying ideas, and providing evidence.
Elizabeth George Bremigan
In the study reported here, I examined the diagrams that mathematically capable high school students produced in solving applied calculus problems in which a diagram was provided in the problem statement. Analyses of the diagrams contained in written solutions to selected free-response problems from the 1996 BC level Advanced Placement Calculus Examination provided insight into the various ways that students modified these diagrams and constructed new diagrams. I investigated relationships between the frequency or nature of the diagrams produced by high- and low-scoring male and female students and students' problem-solving success. Females, who were less successful in problem solving, produced more diagrams than males. Diagrams constructed or modified by males tended to be simpler than the more elaborate versions produced by females.
Hsiu-Zu Ho, Deniz Senturk, Amy G. Lam, Jules M. Zimmer, Sehee Hong, Yukari Okamoto, Sou-Yung Chiu, Yasuo Nakazawa, and Chang-Pei Wang
In this study we focus on math anxiety, comparing its dimensions, levels, and relationship with mathematics achievement across samples of 6th-grade students from China, Taiwan, and the United States. The results of confirmatory factor analyses supported the theoretical distinction between affective and cognitive dimensions of math anxiety in all 3 national samples. The analyses of structural equation models provided evidence for the differential predictive validity of the 2 dimensions of math anxiety. Specifically, across the 3 national samples, the affective factor of math anxiety was significantly related to mathematics achievement in the negative direction. Gender by nation interactions were also found to be significant for both affective and cognitive math anxiety.
Sarah Theule Lubienski and Andrew Bowen
This study provides a broad look at mathematics education research published between 1982 and 1998. The ERIC database was utilized to count and categorize more than 3,000 articles from 48 educational research journals. We identified the number of articles relating to gender, ethnicity, class, and disability that were published in journals from various categories. Attention was also given to grade levels, mathematical topics, and general educational topics in conjunction with each equity group. We conclude that, in comparison with research on ethnicity, class, and disability, research on gender was more prevalent and integrated into mainstream U.S. mathematics education research. Overall, the majority of research seemed to focus on student cognition and outcomes, with less attention to contextual or cultural issues.
M. Beth Casey, Ronald L. Nutall, and Elizabeth Pezaris
For 187 Grade 8 students, we compared spatial-mechanical skills with mathematics selfconfidence as mediators of gender differences in mathematics. Using items showing the largest male and female advantage, respectively, on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) U.S. data, we created mathematics Male and Female subtests from items on the 8th-grade TIMSS. Using path-analytic techniques, we decomposed a significant gender/mathematics correlation, favoring males, on the TIMSS-Male subtest into direct and indirect effects. We found only indirect effects. A spatial-mechanical composite accounted for 74% of the total indirect effects, whereas mathematics self-confidence accounted for 26%. By 8th grade, girls' relatively poorer spatial-mechanical skills contribute to lower scores on types of mathematics at which boys typically excel.
Martha Carr, Donna L. Jessup, and Diana Fuller
In this study we examined how parents and teachers influence the development of gender differences in mathematics strategy use in the 1st grade. Children were interviewed about their strategy use, their metacognitive knowledge about specific strategies, and their perceptions of parents' and teachers' attitudes toward various strategies. Parents and teachers completed questionnaires about the types of strategy and metacognitive instruction they provided. Previous results (Carr & Jessup, 1997) were replicated with boys correctly using retrieval during the 1st grade more than girls and girls correctly using overt strategies more than boys. Boys were influenced by the belief that adults like strategies indicating ability and by teacher instruction on retrieval strategies. Girls' strategy use was not related to perceived adult beliefs or actions.