DOI (Digital Object Identifier)
Leadership and Higher Education
Doctor of Education (Ed.D)
Janee Both Gragg
social sciences; education; assessment; gender differences; international baccalaureate; mathematics
Educational Leadership | Mathematics | Secondary Education
For years, researchers and educators alike have studied differences in educational performance as they relate to gender. And while many subject areas have been debated, "the existence, degree, and origin of a gender gap in mathematics are highly debated" (Guiso, Monte, Sapienza & Zingales, 2008). What has not been more widely researched is if specialized academic programs help to narrow the gender gap in what is often perceived as one of the most gender stereotyped subject – mathematics. The specific question explored in this study is whether or not having students involved in the International Baccalaureate (IB) math program further close the gender gap in mathematics. The purpose of this quantitative study was to evaluate if a specialized academic program – the IB program –helps to narrow the gender gap in mathematics over time.
This study is a quantitative comparative analysis of female and male test scores for student in grades 11 and 12 participating in IB Math Studies SL at Selected High School. Test scores of all students who took the exam in years 2002 through 2010 at Selected High School were collected for analysis. Additionally, the Grade Point Average (GPA) for the academic school year that corresponds with the year of test examination was also collected. GPA was only collected for years 2005 through 2010 because in the first three years of the program a two-year math class was in effect and there was a lack of complete archival data.
The results of this study mirror existing research on both the gender gap in mathematics and the academic performance of males versus females. Kenney-Benson, Pomerantz, Ryan & Patrick (2006) identified that female students consistently outperform males students in terms of grades, yet male students consistently score higher on math achievement tests. This is further supported by the research of Yee & Eccles (1988) that found that females attribute success to effort, whereas males attribute success to skill. This could be one possible explanation for this study's results. The way in which male and female student approach their academics might be more influential than the academic rigor, curriculum or teaching methods.
Schantz, Ashley Lynn Overley, "Gender Difference in Math Performance in the International Baccalaureate Programme" (2012). Ed.D. Dissertations in Leadership for Educational Justice. 46.