Gender issues in the mathematics classroom: Student perceptions and parental beliefs
Ortiz, Rebecca P.
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The abundance of literature on gender equity and mathematics is evident. As a result, the field of education has developed theories and processes in order to combat gender bias. The benefits are obvious as more females are enrolled in higher level mathematics. Despite the progress, females choosing to enter rigorous math courses and pursue mathematical and scientific intensive careers remain relatively unchanged. In recent years, the motivational aspects of parental influence and self-efficacy have been examined in an attempt to discover their influence on academic motivation. Utilizing Expectancy Value theory, an exploration of this area was undertaken in an attempt to explain parental influence and personal perceptions on engagement in the mathematics classroom. Grounded theory will be the process in which data will be analyzed. Through a continual comparative analysis, emerging themes can be examined and altered in order to appropriately reflect the data. As the process progresses, theories will emerge that are grounded in the data. The goal of this study was to understand how students’ self efficacy, parents’ beliefs and the interactions among these dynamics, effect female students’ thoughts regarding their mathematical capabilities and the pursuit of higher mathematics. The results were consistent with current theories regarding self-efficacy and student motivation. Schools and educators need to provide opportunities for students to experience success in the mathematics classroom to develop and increase self-efficacy.