Two New Instruments To Probe Attitudes about Gender and Mathematics.Report as inadecuate

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Two forms of a new instrument, "Mathematics as a Gendered Domain" and "Who and Mathematics," were developed to replace one of the scales of the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scales. The aim of both instruments is to measure the extent to which students stereotype mathematics as a gendered domain. For "Mathematics as a Gendered Domain," a Likert-type scoring format is used. The other instrument uses an innovative response format that asks students to indicate whether girls or boys are more likely to match the wording of the item. The instruments were developed with the cooperation of mathematics teachers and a dozen volunteer secondary school students. The developed scales were pilot tested with about 400 students in grades 7 through 10 in Australia, and modified versions were then administered to approximately 1,600 students in grades 7 through 10. Data show that a majority of students perceived mathematics as a gender-neutral domain, but among those who did not, girls were thought to be superior at mathematics. Boys' behaviors were thought to be less functional; boys were thought to be more likely to find mathematics difficult, to be bored, and to need more help. An appendix lists 13 articles related to the use of these instruments. (SLD)

Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Gender Issues, Mathematics, Research Methodology, Secondary Education, Secondary School Students, Sex Differences, Sex Stereotypes, Student Attitudes

Author: Leder, Gilah C.; Forgasz, Helen J.



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