The Attitudes of Boys and Girls towards Science and Mathematics as they Progress through School in Australia

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 24/16

Date: 2016

Author(s):

Chris Ryan

Abstract

Differences between boys and girls in their attitudes towards mathematics are apparent among students in Year 4 in Australia. While not more engaged in their classes, boys indicate that they like mathematics and are more confident about their ability in it than girls. These differences increase between Year 4 and Year 8, while differences in similar directions in reported attitudes towards science develop. In Year 8, these differences in attitudes exist across all school sectors, social backgrounds and student levels of achievement, aspirations about future levels of completed education, language backgrounds and the genders of their teachers. These differences at Year 8 exist within schools, not between schools of different types or who cater for different types of students. There appears to be one exception to this statement: girls in single sex schools are more likely to like and be as confident about mathematics and science as boys in single sex schools.

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  • Gender attitudes, science, mathematics, achievement