Girls' participation in post 16 mathematics: a view from pupils in Wales

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-669
Number of pages19
JournalGender and Education
Volume21
Issue number6
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2009
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Abstract

A number of studies have highlighted that anxiety, confidence and enjoyment are influential factors on students' participation in mathematics, and in particular girls' participation. This paper, based upon data collected as part of a PhD thesis, examines the effect of these influences on pupil choices within different types of secondary schools in Wales and, rather interestingly, the findings show that such factors are significantly less marked in one category of school in Wales. Girls were more likely than boys to report feelings of anxiety and a lack of confidence in mathematics in all schools in Wales, apart from in Language Streamed schools. Furthermore, students in the Language Streamed schools were most likely to enjoy mathematics compared to pupils in other schools in Wales. Reasons for such findings are related to certain school practices. Smaller classes, retaining a teacher and teacher gender all appear to have positive benefits on girls' and boys' attitudes towards mathematics