Gender and Performance in Mathematical Tasks: Does the Context Make a Difference?
- 294 Downloads
This study investigates how the context of mathematical tasks affects the performance of young children (ages 5–11). Subjects were 523 children from age 5 to 11. Three contexts of mathematical tasks (stereotypically boys’ contexts, stereotypically girls’ contexts and neutral contexts) are examined in three age groups (young, medium, and old). Boys’ and girls’ mean scores were compared for each age group in each of the three contexts. The data show that girls’ performance is affected by the context of the task while boys’ performance is not. The comparison between boys and girls in the three different contexts showed that in neutral contexts, the scores of boys and girls are similar. In (stereotypically) boys’ contexts, however, boys score significantly higher than girls. In (stereotypically) girls’ contexts, a significant interaction is found between age and gender, showing that the way girls are affected by such contexts depends on their age. The implications of these findings for gender-fair mathematics learning are discussed.
Keywordscontext gender-fair education gender stereotypes mathematics education
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Attwood, L. (1996). Young people’s attitudes towards sex roles and sexuality. In H. Pilkington (Ed.), Gender, generation and identity in contemporary Russia. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Chipman, S.F., Marshall, S.P. & Scott, P.A. (1991). Content effects on word problem performance: A possible source of test bias? American Educational Research Journal, 28, 897–915.Google Scholar
- Greeno, J.G. (1988). The situated activities of learning and knowing mathematics. In M.J. Behr, C.G. Lacampagne & M.M. Wheeler (Eds.), Proceedings of the tenth annual meeting of PME-NA (pp. 481–521). DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University.Google Scholar
- Halpern, D.F. (2000). Sex differences in cognitive abilities. Mahwah, NJ and London: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Israeli Ministry of Education. (2002). A report about gender stereotypes in textbooks. Jerusalem: Israel Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
- Joiner, R. & Norgate, S. (1997). Blocks, bears & pirates: The effects of gender, computer experience familiarity and interest on children’s computer based problem solving. Electronic resource. http://www.media.uwe.ac.uk/masoud/cal-97/papers/joiner-f.htm Accessed July 6th, 2005.
- Kamir, O. (2002). Feminism, rights and the law. Jerusalem: Popular University, Ministry of Defense.Google Scholar
- Kuhn, D., Garcia-Mila, M., Zohar, A. & Anderson, C. (1995). Strategies of knowledge acquisition. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (MSRCD), 60, 1–128.Google Scholar
- Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Lave, J. (1990). The culture of acquisition and the practice of understanding. In J.W. Stigler, R.A. Shweder & G. Herdt (Eds.), Cultural psychology (pp. 259–86). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Leder, G.C. (1974). Sex differences in mathematics problem appeal as a function of problem context. The Journal of Educational Research, 67, 351–353.Google Scholar
- Leonard, M.J. & Derry, S.J. (2001). Can gender-adapted instruction improve mathematics performance and attitude? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Seattle, WA: April 10–14.Google Scholar
- Murphy, P. (1990). Assessment and gender paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Roehampton.Google Scholar
- Saxe, G.B. (1991). Culture and cognitive development: Studies in mathematical understanding. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Shachar, R. (1999). Gender equity: Between ideology and reality. In E. Peled (Ed.), Celebrating 50 years of Israeli educational system. Jerualem: Israel Ministry of Education.Google Scholar