Gender, affect, and math: a cross-national meta-analysis of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015 outcomes

Author(s): Ghasemi, Ehsan; Burley, Hansel

Date: 2019

Pages: p. 1-25


Understanding why women are consistently underrepresented in STEM fields has been a constant puzzle, with a consistent feature of the puzzle being performance in math. This study uses data from TIMSS exams to investigate cross-national gender differences in math-related affect, more precisely liking mathematics, confidence in mathematics, and valuing mathematics. We compared fourth and eighth graders to track any differences in these gender-related affective characteristics. Our findings suggest that despite the variability and some changes to the magnitude and direction of gender differences in math affect, boys and girls are similar. We also found that cross-national sociocultural, political, and educational equality of adults does not necessarily predict positive affect for both genders. In fact, the researchers found that some countries with a smaller adult gender gaps have students with higher gender differences in mathematics-relevant affect.

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