When Grades Are High but Self-Efficacy Is Low : Unpacking the Confidence Gap Between Girls and Boys in Mathematics

Faculty/Professorship: Empirical Educational Research 
Author(s): Zander, Lysann; Höhne, Elisabeth; Harms, Sophie; Pfost, Maximilian  ; Hornsey, Matthew J
Title of the Journal: Frontiers in psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078,
Corporate Body: Frontiers Research Foundation
Publisher Information: Lausanne
Year of publication: 2020
Volume: 11
Issue: 552355
Pages: 14
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.552355
Girls have much lower mathematics self-efficacy than boys, a likely contributor to the under-representation of women in STEM. To help explain this gender confidence gap, we examined predictors of mathematics self-efficacy in a sample of 1,007 9th graders aged 13–18 years (54.2% girls). Participants completed a standardized math test, after which they rated three indices of mastery: an affective component (state self-esteem), a meta-cognitive component (self-enhancement), and their prior math grade. Despite having similar grades, girls reported lower mathematics self-efficacy and state self-esteem, and were less likely than boys to self-enhance in terms of performance. Multilevel multiple-group regression analyses showed that the affective mastery component explained girls’ self-efficacy while cognitive self-enhancement explained boys’. Yet, a chi-square test showed that both constructs were equally relevant in the prediction of girls’ and boys’ self-efficacy. Measures of interpersonal sources of self-efficacy were not predictive of self-efficacy after taking the other dimensions into account. Results suggest that boys are advantaged in their development of mathematics self-efficacy beliefs, partly due to more positive feelings and more cognitive self-enhancement following test situations.
GND Keywords: Mathematik; Selbstwirksamkeit; Geschlechterunterschied
Keywords: self-efficacy beliefs, gender, mathematics, STEM, sources of self-efficacy
DDC Classification: 510 Mathematics  
RVK Classification: SM 607   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/53384
Release Date: 28. February 2022