Giftedness, Gender and Motivation – The Impact of Mathematics Self-Efficacy, Interest and Attitudes as Determinants to Identify Mathematical Giftedness
Education Journal
Volume 8, Issue 5, September 2019, Pages: 211-225
Received: Jun. 24, 2019; Accepted: Aug. 15, 2019; Published: Aug. 30, 2019
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Author
Ralf Benölken, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
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Abstract
A widespread but internationally inconsistent phenomenon is the underrepresentation of girls in programs aimed at supporting mathematical giftedness from primary-school age. It contradicts the consensus that girls and boys have equal potentials independent of certain domains. According to current giftedness models that emphasize the significance of both cognitive and co-cognitive parameters, motivational constructs are one important factor to consider in the context of identification and support. For instance, existing studies indicate that girls and boys who were identified as being mathematically gifted, as well as boys who were not, often show more advantageous mathematical self-concepts and attributions than girls who were not identified as such. The obvious question is whether such empirical indicators can also be found in similar motivational constructs, since altogether they might provide deeper indications of the significance of motivational factors as determinants to identify mathematical giftedness from a gender perspective. This article investigates this question by focusing on mathematics self-efficacy, interest and attitudes in a quantitative cross-sectional questionnaire study with children at primary-school age. It did so by comparing frequent characteristics of four groups: boys and girls identified as being mathematically gifted, as well as boys and girls who were not. Against the background of available findings on other motivational factors as well as various research results on self-efficacy, interest, and attitudes, the hypotheses were obvious that girls and boys who were identified as being mathematically gifted, as well as boys who were not, often show more advantageous mathematics self-efficacy, interest, and attitudes than girls who were not identified as such. Summarized, the study’s results confirm these hypotheses in principle. Thus, the findings can help to explain the phenomenon of the rare identification of girls’ mathematical giftedness, because teachers, for example, might perceive boys’ potentials primarily. As a consequence, the development of advantageous characteristics of mathematics self-efficacy, interests and attitudes independent of questions as to the identification of mathematical giftedness seems to be important especially with girls.
Keywords
Mathematical Giftedness, Gender, Self-Efficacy, Interest, Attitudes, Motivation
To cite this article
Ralf Benölken, Giftedness, Gender and Motivation – The Impact of Mathematics Self-Efficacy, Interest and Attitudes as Determinants to Identify Mathematical Giftedness, Education Journal. Vol. 8, No. 5, 2019, pp. 211-225. doi: 10.11648/j.edu.20190805.16
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Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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