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Title:Sex Differences in Math Performance Among Early Adolescents: The Role of Children's Approaches to School
Author(s):Kenney-Benson, Gwen Allison
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pomerantz, Eva M.
Department / Program:Psychology
Discipline:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:Although much attention has been devoted to girls' vulnerabilities, relatively little is known about their strengths. Prior research has shown that girls consistently outperform boys in the classroom, even in stereotypically masculine subject areas such as math and science. The central aim of the current research was to examine whether differences in girls and boys' approaches to school underlie the sex difference in their grades. Children's approaches to school (i.e., achievement goal orientation and disruptive classroom behavior) and their learning strategies were assessed when participants were in fifth and then 2 years later when they were in seventh grade (N = 518); math grades and achievement test scores were also collected at both times. Girls were more likely than boys to be concerned with mastery over performance and to refrain from engaging in disruptive behavior in the classroom. These approaches to school predicted heightened learning strategies over time for girls. Girls' edge over boys in terms of grades was accounted for by the sex difference in how children approached school and the ensuing sex difference in learning strategies. Children's approaches to school also predicted achievement test scores over time through their learning strategies. However, this effect was entirely accounted for by children's self-efficacy for which there was no sex difference. This may be one reason that girls did not outperform boys in the achievement test situation. The significance of these findings for girls and boys' academic pursuits is discussed.
Issue Date:2003
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:60 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/82047
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3101881
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003


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