Gender differences in intelligence theory, achievement, motivation, and attributional style: effects on choice of science, math, and technology careers
Froehlich, Sharon Walling
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Subjectsex differences (psychology); math anxiety; vocational guidance for women; science vocational guidance
This study explores potential reasons for why more females become math avoidant than males during middle and high school and tend to skip all but the most necessary math classes in college, leading to a dearth of women who enter careers in mathematics, science, and technology. This web-based study examines gender differences in the way males and females self report views of their own personal math intelligence, their goal orientation in the mathematics learning environment, their demonstration of either mastery or learned helplessness orientation in the face of failure at a difficult math task, and gender differences in math self-efficacy before and after math failure. The author hypothesized that more females than males would demonstrate a learned maladaptive pattern in the mathematical learning environment. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that the above factors will be consistent with females’ decision not to enter scientific and math based careers. Contrary to these predictions, the only significant findings were that women did tend to report lower math self-efficacy than men, and that consistent with previous research (e.g. Betz, 1985), low math self-efficacy is predictive of interest in careers in math, science, and technology. The results will be presented and discussed, along with some limitations of the current study and suggestions for future research in this important area.
Thesis (M.S.)--State University of New York at New Paltz, 2007