Math Ability/Performance:
Confidence as a Predictor Abstracts
B. Azer, Math + culture = gender gap?
From the article: "Researchers have all but debunked the idea that girls are innately worse at math than boys. But psychologists have identified other factors that might set girls back."
T. Breda and C. Napp, Girls’ comparative advantage in reading can largely explain the gender gap in math-related fields
Abstract(From the article):Gender differences in math performance are now small in developed countries and they cannot explain on their own the strong underrepresentation of women in math-related fields. This latter result is however no longer true once gender differences in reading performance are also taken into account. Using individual-level data on 300,000 15-y-old students in 64 countries, we show that the difference between a student performance in reading and math is 80% of a standard deviation (SD) larger for girls than boys, a magnitude considered as very large. When this difference is controlled for, the gender gap in students’ intentions to pursue math-intensive studies and careers is reduced by around 75%, while gender gaps in self-concept in math, declared interest for math or attitudes toward math entirely disappear. These latter variables are also much less able to explain the gender gap in intentions to study math than is students’ difference in performance between math and reading. These results are in line with choice models in which educational decisions involve intraindividual comparisons of achievement and self-beliefs in different subjects as well as cultural norms regarding gender. To directly show that intraindividual comparisons of achievement impact students’ intended careers, we use differences across schools in teaching resources dedicated to math and reading as exogenous variations of students’ comparative advantage for math. Results confirm that the comparative advantage in math with respect to reading at the time of making educational choices plays a key role in the process leading to women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields.
S-Y Cho, Explaining Gender Differences in Confidence and Overconfidence in Math
Abstract(from the article):This paper investigates empirically how and why men and women are different in their confidence levels. Using the data of the PISA test in math, confidence is decomposed into two dimensions: confidence in correct math knowledge and overconfidence in over-claiming false knowledge. The findings highlight that female students are not less confident than male students, but they are rather less overconfident. Furthermore, mathematical abilities have different effects on male and female students. While ability alone increases confidence and decreases overconfidence, the interaction effect of feminine gender and ability is negative. This means that the negative effect of ability on overconfidence is larger for female students than male ones, while the positive effect of ability on confidence is smaller for females. That being said, the negative gender gap in overconfidence against girls is greater for students in the higher quartiles of math scores than those in the lower quartiles. Also, the positive gender gap in confidence for girls is smaller for well-performing students than under-performing ones. The empirical evidence further reveals that such gender-asymmetric effects of ability can be explained by gender socialization that limits women’s roles and undermines their achievements.
K. M. Cooper, A. Krieg, and S. E. Brownell, Who perceives they are smarter? Exploring the influences of student characteristics on student academic self-concept in physiology
From the article: Academic self-concept is one’s perception of his or her ability in an academic domain and is formed by comparing oneself to other students. As college biology classrooms transition from lecturing to active learning, students interact more with each other and are likely comparing themselves more to other students in the class. Student characteristics can impact students’ academic self-concept; however, this has been unexplored in the context of undergraduate biology. In this study, we explored whether student characteristics can affect academic self-concept in the context of an active learning college physiology course. Using a survey, students self-reported how smart they perceived themselves to be in the context of physiology relative to the whole class and relative to their groupmate, the student with whom they worked most closely in class. Using linear regression, we found that men and native English speakers had significantly higher academic self-concept relative to the whole class compared with women and nonnative English speakers. Using logistic regression, we found that men had significantly higher academic self-concept relative to their groupmate compared with women. Using constant comparison methods, we identified nine factors that students reported influenced how they determined whether they were more or less smart than their groupmate. Finally, we found that students were more likely to report participating more than their groupmate if they had a higher academic self-concept. These findings suggest that student characteristics can influence students’ academic self-concept, which in turn may influence their participation in small-group discussion and their academic achievement in active learning classes.
K.M. Flanagan and J. Einarson, Gender, Math Confidence, and Grit: Relationships with Quantitative Skills and Performance in an Undergraduate Biology Course
Abstract (from the article): In a world filled with big data, mathematical models, and statistics, the development of strong quantitative skills is becoming increasingly critical for modern biologists. Teachers in this field must understand how students acquire quantitative skills and explore barriers experienced by students when developing these skills. In this study, we examine the interrelationships among gender, grit, and math confidence for student performance on a pre–post quantitative skills assessment and overall performance in an undergraduate biology course. Here, we show that females significantly underperformed relative to males on a quantitative skills assessment at the start of term. However, females showed significantly higher gains over the semester, such that the gender gap in performance was nearly eliminated by the end of the semester. Math confidence plays an important role in the performance on both the pre and post quantitative skills assessments and overall performance in the course. The effect of grit on student performance, however, is mediated by a student’s math confidence; as math confidence increases, the positive effect of grit decreases. Consequently, the positive impact of a student’s grittiness is observed most strongly for those students with low math confidence. We also found grit to be positively associated with the midterm score and the final grade in the course. Given the relationships established in this study among gender, grit, and math confidence, we provide “instructor actions” from the literature that can be applied in the classroom to promote the development of quantitative skills in light of our findings.
J. Gutbezahl, How negative expectancies and attitudes undermine females' math confidence and performance: a review of the literature
This preprint is a literature review on how negative expectancies and attitudes undermine females’ math confidence and performance. Contains a long list of references.
J. S. Hyde, E. Fennema, M. Ryan, L. A. Frost, and C. Hopp, Gender comparisons of mathematics attitudes and affect: a meta-analysis
This is a report on the authors' meta-analyses on the effects of gender differences in attitudes on mathematics performance. On the whole, effect sizes were small. Some differences in attitudes were observed and the differences seemed to increase with the age of the students. Includes: Gender differences on scales of math attitudes/affect as function of age. (table); Magnitude of gender differences on other scales of math attitudes/affect. (table); Gender differences in mathematics attitudes/affect, combining scales. (table); Gender differences in mathematics anxiety as function of selectivity. (table); Studies of gender differences in mathematics attitudes and affect. (table)
K. Kay and S. Shipman, The Confidence Gap
Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here's why, and what to do about it.
L. Perez-Felkner, The key to fixing the gender gap in math and science: Boost women’s confidence
The author claims that the gender gap in math and science isn't going away and that this pattern persists despite major students that find there are no meaningful gender-related differences in math performance. The author makes a plea that those of us interested in gender equity should make female confidence a priority.
Boys are More Confident than Girls When it Comes to Math, Survey Shows
A national survey of 16- to 18-year-olds who participated in the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge shows that even among some of America’s top high school students, not only do boys favor math more than girls, but they also have more confidence in math class.
D. J. Stipek and J. H. Gralinski, Gender differences in children's achievement-related beliefs and emotional responses to success and failure in mathematics
Includes: Mean scores for pretest questions, by grade and gender. (table); Mean attribution scores by outcome and gender. (table); Mean scores for pride, shame, and desire to hide paper, by grade and gender. (table); Mean scores for avoidance wishes and expectations for future math tests. (table); Path analyses. (chart)