Macquarie University
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Adult responses to children's failure in Maths and English: the impact of gender and perceived effort

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:26 authored by Doris Ayala
This study aims to find out which subjects (STEM/Language Arts) are recommended after failure is observed in both subjects in the first semesters of a child's formal education. Specifically, whether adults' recommendations are affected by the child's gender and level of effort, which may help us understand some of the psychological processes that steer women away from STEM. 189 adults (parents, in-service teachers and pre-service teachers) living in Australia (mean age 27.4, 6.3% male and 93.7�male) were exposed to a fictional failed school report where a child has failed in Maths and English. Reports were identical except for two variables that were manipulated: gender (the child is either a girl or a boy) and the child's effort in Maths (high or low). Participants provided ratings of that child's future academic performance, ability and interest in both subjects, and made recommendations for remedial classes. Results show that regardless of effort, boys were equally encouraged to develop their STEM and Language Arts skills by supporting students in additional subjects related to both domains. In comparison, girls were more frequently directed towards Language Arts subjects than STEM. Additionally, high-effort boys were perceived to have lower levels of Maths ability than low-effort boys.



Bibliography: pages 39-51 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Educational Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Educational Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Carol Newall


Copyright Doris Ayala 2021




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