AbstractThe purpose of this study is to determine whether gender tendencies exist in girls’ and boys’ attitudes towards mathematics in Wales which may affect their participation in the subject, along with identifying any school or Local Education Authority (LEA) policies or practices which may also influence students’ participation.
To achieve this, 712 students participated in an attitudinal questionnaire, with participants from 7 schools taking part in group interviews. Observations of mathematics classrooms were conducted in 4 schools. 28 teachers and 9 LEA representatives completed questionnaires to determine the existence and effect of any school and LEA policies and practices.
The results illustrated marked gender tendencies between girls’ and boys’ attitudes towards mathematics in Wales. However, these gender tendencies were significantly less marked in one type of school. Furthermore, class size and teacher gender were identified as having an influence on students’ participation.
The study concluded that gender tendencies in girls’ and boys’ attitudes towards mathematics do exist in Wales and that there are certain school practices and policies which can affect students’ participation in the subject.
Based on this study’s results, recommendations for schools and LEAs are proposed to increase students’ participation in mathematics. These include:
•Promote co-operative and practical working methods in mathematics
•Arrange the classroom to ensure that girls are grouped together
•Ensure textbooks do not contain gender stereotypes
•Ensure Welsh medium textbooks are updated
•Provide students with adequate career and subject advice to allow them to make informed decisions about future careers and the subjects necessary to achieve the career chosen
•Reduce class sizes and ensure that there is no predominance of boys in each class
•Allow mathematics teachers to remain with classes for a number of years
•Ensure teacher encouragement at mathematics
•Increase initiatives to address gender issues
•Improve advice given to schools by LEAs
•Ensure girls and boys are treated equally in the classroom, as far as is feasible
•Relate mathematics to real life experiences.
•Teach the subject to achieve understanding over and above keeping pace with a pre-set curriculum
•Ensure that gender equality is made a priority both at school and LEA level by putting in place appropriate initiatives
•Revise the curriculum and the GCSE examination in mathematics to alter their present negative effect on gender equality
•Publish mathematical examination results in such a way that they do not adversely affect girls’ choice of studying mathematics at AS level.
|Date of Award
|14 May 2008
|Robert Jones (Supervisor) & Malcolm Thomas (Supervisor)
- gnder issues in education
- study and teaching