Gender Gap in Math Aversion. Explaining Propensity to Choose Advanced Math at High Stake Exam in Poland

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:22
Oral Presentation
Alicja ZAWISTOWSKA, University of Bialystok, Poland
Ireneusz SADOWSKI, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Some researchers show that average score differences between sexes on standardized tests are small or insignificant, while others alarm that girls have lower math self-esteem, more of them worry about math failure and are less likely to enter math-oriented majors. Altogether it suggests that other than cognitive factors influence females’ decisions to pursue STEM career. We address this issue using data from Polish high stake matriculation exams. Specifically, we investigate the differences in probability of taking advanced exit exam in math for high school students while looking at statistical effects of skill and of school. Both our hypotheses: (1) that gender gap in math aversion diminishes with higher skill levels, and (2) that general high schools narrow that gap, are falsified. Application of mixed models proves important in that respect as it changes some of the key outcomes. The results have implications for the theory concerning educational choice and gender gap in STEM.