University Eduardo Mondlane - UEM (MOZAMBIQUE)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7986-7993
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
The differences in attitude towards Mathematics between boys and girls have been evaluated in several studies carried out in many countries involving pupils of different grades and levels of different educational systems. Although the main aim of the Mozambique’s Education policy is to promote, among others, gender equity in the access to all education levels, there are more females than males, who do not benefit to this. This gender discrepancy increases over the education levels, being more evident at the tertiary level and particularly in Mathematics and its related fields. Researchers such as Fennema and Sherman, (1977) and Leder, (1990) stated that when comparing the two genders, females have been noted to have more negative attitudes and that these differences increase as pupils progress in school. And, according to Oakes (1990), it could be expressed by the fact that there are a number of factors influencing pupils’ attitudes toward Mathematics and Sciences, which could mask the gender differences. Although relative to a certain population, it could be extrapolated to a broader population since there is a worldwide convention that girls are not interested in participating in Mathematics and its related fields. Therefore, the present research involving 1221 junior secondary school pupils (531 boys and 690 girls) applied a quantitative design methodology. The main instrument used was a questionnaire covering five components of the affective domain that have been established in the literature as likely to be important aspects of pupils’ attitudes toward mathematics and used in several other studies. Statistical data analysis was performed and, in general the analysis considered gender, age group and grade as the independent variables and the results are presented as tables and graphs. Albeit gender differences are small, they exist, but by themselves were not found as large enough to justify the gender disparities in mathematics participation. Important component of the gender differences found were the pupils’ Confidence in working in Mathematics and the perception of Mathematics as a Male Domain since there were in these attitude sub-scales where the pupils really differed. Although both gender rated their Confidence as positive, but not to a great extent, boys showed to be more confident than girls. Similarly, boys admitted less than girls, that Mathematics is a Male Domain.
gender differences, attitudes towards mathematics