Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A New Perspective on Gender Differences in Student Self-Perceptions of Ability in Mathematics

The purpose of this investigation was to better understand the historical differences between boys and girls in the mathematics courses that are taken and their choices to pursue math-related careers when gender differences appear to be no longer prevalent on mathematics achievement tests. This descriptive study examines gender differences of middle school students in mathematics through the framework of the possible selves theory. Possible selves are self-conceptions of both what an individual hopes to become and fears becoming. Survey measures were designed and used to determine students' hopes and fears in mathematics. Results did not support the hypothesis of gender differences that girls would have more feared selves than boys. However, overall the students expressed a high regard for their mathematics abilities and had more hoped-for than feared possible mathematical selves. Speculations are made for why no gender differences were found in the sample. Other limitations and suggestions for further research are offered.