Gender Gap Linked to Differential Socialization for High-Achieving Senior Mathematics Students

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The Journal of Educational Research


Gender equity, especially in technical areas involving mathematics, is the focus of much current research. There are three explanations offered for gender inequities: biological causes, greater variability among male students, and cultural causes. High-achieving 11th-grade mathematics students (330 boys, 213 girls) who participated in the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY) were studied. Campbell's differential socialization paradigm was used as a theoretical framework. The results uncovered a 10.8% gender gap favoring the boys. The path models for both sexes indicated that educated mothers have strong indirect effects on their children's mathematics achievement. Furthermore, the students' self-imposed pressure and persistence had important direct effects on their achievement. The mathematics self-concept had important direct effects on the boys' mathematics achievement, but it had little effect on the girls' achievement. Several macro-inequities and micro-inequities were uncovered. Findings indicate that socialization causes are responsible for these inequities.