Mathematics education in Lebanon: gender differences in attitudes and achievement

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate gender differences in students’ mathematics achievement and in their attitudes toward mathematics. Another purpose was to examine mathematics teachers’ beliefs and their perceptions of their male and female students’ ability. The sample consisted of 692 students (353 girls, 339 boys) between the ages of 12 and 16 years, enrolled in grades 7–9 at four private schools in Lebanon. Data were collected using the Attitudes Toward Mathematics (ATM) scale (Aiken in Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 5, 67–71, 1974), school records, and interviews with teachers. Results showed no significant gender differences in either achievement or attitudes toward mathematics, thus dispelling the common belief that female students in traditional cultures do not perform well in mathematics and dislike the field. A main effect for grade level was found with ninth graders significantly outperforming their younger counterparts. Also, teachers viewed mathematics as a male domain and attributed boys’ success to ability and girls’ success to effort. They also interacted with boys more frequently regardless of the nature of the exchange. Implications for future research and for instructional practice are overviewed.

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Correspondence to Ketty M. Sarouphim.

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Sarouphim, K.M., Chartouny, M. Mathematics education in Lebanon: gender differences in attitudes and achievement. Educ Stud Math 94, 55–68 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-016-9712-9

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Keywords

  • Mathematics education
  • Gender differences
  • Adolescence