Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 55–69 | Cite as

Teachers' attributions and beliefs about girls, boys, and mathematics

  • Elizabeth Fennema
  • Penelope L. Peterson
  • Thomas P. Carpenter
  • Cheryl A. Lubinski


Thirty-eight first grade teachers were asked to identify their two most and least successful girls and boys in mathematics, to attribute causation of these students' successes and failures, and to describe their characteristics. Teachers' choices of most and least successful students were compared to mathematics test scores of their students. Teachers were most inaccurate when selecting most successful boys. Teachers tended to attribute causation of boys' successes and failures to ability and girls' successes and failures to effort. Teachers thought their best boy students when compared to their best girl students, were more competitive, more logical, more adventurous, volunteered answers more often to mathematics problems, enjoyed math more, and were more independent in mathematics.


Test Score Mathematics Problem Successful Student Grade Teacher Mathematics Test 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Fennema
    • 1
  • Penelope L. Peterson
    • 2
  • Thomas P. Carpenter
    • 3
  • Cheryl A. Lubinski
    • 4
  1. 1.Wisconsin Center for Education ResearchUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Wisconsin Center for Education ResearchUSA
  4. 4.Illinois State UniversityUSA

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