Gender gap in math confidence is studied

Jul 27, 2005

A survey of middle school girls suggests their self-confidence in math suffers when their parents believe math is a male domain.

Researchers Ruchi Bhanot and Jasna Jovanovic of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which released research data Tuesday, said a gender gap exists in math and science, but it's a gap about performance or achievement.

"It's about attitudes," said Jovanovic, a professor of human and community development. "Girls are not as confident about math and science."

According to the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 71 percent of eighth-grade boys and 60 percent of eighth-grade girls reported confidence in their math ability. The gender gap in confidence persists into high school.

Bhanot, a graduate student in human and community development, said, "Research shows when parents endorse the stereotype that math is a male domain, their daughters underestimate their math ability."

Jovanovic and Bhanot hypothesize parents inadvertently impose stereotypes when they give unsolicited help with their child's homework.

The research appears in the journal Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: A two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Separation of para and ortho water

9 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

Dogs can be pessimists too

19 minutes ago

Dogs generally seem to be cheerful, happy-go-lucky characters, so you might expect that most would have an optimistic outlook on life.

Recommended for you

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight

8 hours ago

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State Univer ...

Scholar tracks the changing world of gay sexuality

12 hours ago

With same-sex marriage now legalized in 19 states and laws making it impossible to ban homosexuals from serving in the military, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are now enjoying more freedoms and rights than ever before.

User comments : 0