Mathematical Anxiety - Math and Gender

Math and Gender

Another difference in mathematic abilities often explored in research concerns gender disparities. There has been research examining gender difference in performance on standardized tests across various countries. Beller and Gafni’s have shown that children at approximately nine years of age do not show consistent gender difference in relation to math skills. However, in 17 out of the 20 countries examined in this study, 13 year old boys tended to score higher than girls. Moreover, mathematics is often labeled as a masculine ability; as a result, girls often have low confidence in their math capabilities. These gender stereotypes can reinforce low confidence in girls and can cause math anxiety as research has shown that performance on standardized math tests is affected by one’s confidence (Dar-Nimrod & Heine, 2006). As a result, educators have been trying to abolish this stereotype by fostering confidence in math in all students in order to avoid math anxiety.

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