Gender Equity in Mathematics: Beliefs of Students, Parents and Teachers

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
M. Gail Leedy Ph.D., Professor & Chair of the Dept. of Social Work (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: The attitudes about mathematics held by girls and boys participating in a regional mathematics contest, their parents, teachers, and mathematics coaches were investigated. Quantitative data regarding mathematics as a male domain, perception of importance of mathematics, confidence in learning mathematics, effectance motivation, and usefulness of mathematics were obtained. It was found that the traditional gender-based differences in the beliefs regarding mathematics persist even in these mathematically talented students. Furthermore, parents' responses to the questions regarding the role of mathematics revealed that mothers, more than fathers, focused on the computational aspects of mathematics, while fathers more than mothers mentioned the role of mathematics in science or as a language. Boys, fathers, and certain mathematics teachers admitted to a low level of gender stereotyping, as evidenced by their scores on the Mathematics as a Male Domain subscale. However, the girls, mothers, and mathematics coaches did not endorse this stereotyping. Unsolicited responses of girls and mothers, in fact, emphatically denied that gender stereotyping exists. These findings are discussed in terms of the need to resolve the essential conflicts between students', parents', and teachers' deeply held beliefs regarding the nature of mathematics, gender differences in mathematical abilities, and the desire for equity within mathematics education.

Additional Information

LaLonde, D., Leedy, M.G., & Runk, K. (2003). Gender equity in mathematics: Beliefs of students, parents and teachers. School Science and Mathematics, 103(6), 285-292. Published by School Science and Mathematics Association (ISSN: 1949-8594).
Language: English
Date: 2003

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