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According to expectancy-value theory, the gender stereotypes of significant others such as parents, peers, or teachers affect students’ competence beliefs, values, and achievement-related behavior. Stereotypically, gender beliefs about reading favor girls. The aim of this study was to investigate whether teachers’ gender stereotypes in relation to reading—their belief that girls outperform boys—have a negative effect on the reading self-concept of boys, but not girls. We drew on a longitudinal study comprising two occasions of data collection: toward the beginning of Grade 5 (T1) and in the second half of Grade 6 (T2). Our sample consisted of 54 teachers and 1,358 students. Using multilevel modeling, controlling for T1 reading self-concept, reading achievement, and school track, we found a negative association between teachers’ gender stereotype at T1 and boys’ reading self-concept at T2, as expected. For girls, this association did not yield a significant result. Thus, our results provide empirical support for the idea that gender differences in self-concept may be due to the stereotypical beliefs of teachers as significant others. In concluding, we discuss what teachers can do to counteract the effects of their own gender stereotypes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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“Michael can’t read!”—Teachers’ Gender Stereotypes and Boys’ Reading Self-Concept
Jan Retelsdorf
Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Kiel, Germany
Katja Schwartz
University of Kiel, Germany
Frank Asbrock
Philipps University Marburg, Germany
In press in
Journal of Educational Psychology
DOI: 10.1037/a0037107
This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Author Note
Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Jan Retelsdorf, Leibniz Institute for
Science and Mathematics Education, Olshausenstr. 62, D-24118 Kiel, Germany. Tel.: +49
431 8803077; fax: +49 431 8805242. E-mail address:
The research reported in this article is part of the project “Self-concept, Motivation, and
Literacy: Development of Student Reading Behavior”, directed by Jens Möller (Christian-
Albrechts-University of Kiel). The project was funded by the German Research Foundation
(DFG; Mo 648/15-1/15-3). We would like to thank Stephen McLaren for his editorial support
during preparation of this manuscript.
According to expectancy-value theory, the gender stereotypes of significant others such as
parents, peers or teachers affect students’ competence beliefs, values, and achievement-related
behavior. Stereotypically, gender beliefs about reading favor girls. The aim of this study was
to investigate whether teachers’ gender stereotype in relation to readingtheir belief that girls
outperform boyshas a negative effect on the reading self-concept of boys, but not girls. We
drew on a longitudinal study comprising two occasions of data collection: toward the
beginning of grade 5 (T1) and in the second half of grade 6 (T2). Our sample consisted of 54
teachers and 1,358 students. Using multilevel modeling, controlling for T1 reading self-
concept, reading achievement, and school track, a negative association between teachers’
gender stereotype at T1 and boys’ reading self-concept at T2 was recorded, as expected. For
girls this association did not yield a significant result. Thus, our results provide empirical
support for the idea that gender differences in self-concept, may be due to the stereotypical
beliefs of teachers as significant others. In concluding, we discuss what teachers can do to
counteract the effects of their own gender stereotypes.
Keywords: gender stereotypes; reading self-concept
“Michael can’t read!”—Teachers’ Gender Stereotypes and Boys’ Reading Self-Concept
Gender differences in students’ academic self-concepts often exceed differences in actual
achievement (Hyde & Durik, 2005). Drawing on expectancy-value theory (e.g., Eccles &
Wigfield, 2002; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) one compelling explanation of this discrepancy is
that self-concepts develop, inter alia, as a function of the gender beliefs or stereotypes of
significant others such as parents, peers, or teachers. Stereotypes are very powerful in
shaping biased expectations of and behaviors toward groups, especially in regard to broad
categories like gender (Schneider, 2004). Such expectations and behaviors can in turn affect
the self-concept of members of the stereotyped group. This is in line with the assumption of
social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) that widely-held stereotypes about social groups
can influence a person’s view of her- or himself. People derive their identity in part from the
social group they belong to and therefore from socially shared beliefs about their group’s
characteristics (cf. Tajfel, 1981). For example, girls may develop a positive verbal self-
concept due in part to their knowledge of the social belief that girls and women are good at
language-related tasks. Regarding educational outcomes and gender, the question as to which
group is negatively stereotyped, depends on the domain (Plante, De la Sablonnière, Aronson,
& Théorêt, 2013). Whereas there has been some research on the negative effects of
stereotyping for girls in mathematics (see e.g., Nguyen & Ryan, 2008 for a review), little is
known about the negative effects of stereotypes for boys in reading. In this longitudinal
study, we aimed to investigate the relation of teachers’ gender stereotypes about reading as a
stereotypically female academic outcome (Schmenk, 2004) to students’ self-concept in
reading. There has as yet not been much research testing the assumption of expectancy-value
theory, that teachers’ gender stereotypes may explain gender differences in students’ reading
Gender Differences in the Development of Language-Related Self-Concepts
Gender is believed to play an important role in shaping students’ ability self-concepts
(Eccles & Wigfield, 2002; Meece, Bower Glienke, & Burg, 2006; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000).
Since ability self-concepts are highly domain specific (Marsh, Trautwein, Lüdtke, Köller, &
Baumert, 2006; Möller, Retelsdorf, Köller, & Marsh, 2011) the question as to which gender is
advantaged and which disadvantaged, depends of course on the particular domain. Typically,
ability self-concept is higher for the gender that is stereotypically favored in a particular
domain (Watt & Eccles, 2008). Thus, boys are believed to have higher mathematics and
related self-concepts, and girls to have higher language-related self-concepts. Indeed, there is
compelling evidence that girls report higher confidence in their language abilities than do
boys (Durik, Vida, & Eccles, 2006; Eccles, Wigfield, Harold, & Blumenfeld, 1993; Ireson &
Hallam, 2009; Wigfield et al., 1997) although not all studies have found such differences
(Anderman et al., 2001; Evans, Copping, Rowley, & Kurtz-Costes, 2011; Skaalvik &
Skaalvik, 2004). Moreover, there is even some evidence from longitudinal studies that these
gender differences increase over time. Jacobs, Lanza, Osgood, Eccles, and Wigfield (2002)
reported such a widening gap between girls’ and boys’ language-related self-concept from
grades 1 to 12. In another longitudinal study, Archambault, Eccles, and Vida (2010)
identified seven groups of children with distinct trajectories of language-related self-concept.
They found a higher proportion of girls maintained the highest and most stable self-concepts
over time; conversely a higher proportion of boys indicated substantial self-concept decline.
These results also indicated an increasing gender difference over time. It is also noteworthy,
however, that self-concepts decline for both boys and girls over time. Thus, the widening
gender gap would appear to be a result of the steeper decline within the group of boys.
A promising approach to the explanation of gender differences in self-concept is
provided by Eccles’ expectancy-value theory of achievement-related choices (e.g., Eccles et
al., 1983; Eccles & Wigfield, 2002; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000). This theory, which provides a
general model for the explanation of achievement-related choices and behaviors, has a
particular focus on the understanding of gender differences. The model deals with the
question, under which circumstances a person will undertake a challenging achievement task.
This is explained in terms of high value of the task and high expectation of success.
Moreover, the model also provides a valuable framework for the explanation of gender
differences in ability self-concepts that are closely related to one core variable of the model
expectation of success. According to expectancy-value theory, a person’s self-concept is
shaped not only by his or her previous achievement, but also by a variety of social and
cultural factors. These factors comprise cultural gender roles that prescribe certain behaviors
as appropriate or inappropriate for males or females, as well as gender stereotypes. Moreover,
the behaviors and beliefs of significant others, such as peers, parents, and teachers play an
important role in shaping students’ self-concepts. In the present research, we focused on the
role of teachers, as there is some evidence that teachers can contribute to the gender gap. For
example, they may pay more attention to boys than to girls (DeZolt & Hull, 2001) and
communicate overall more with boys than with girlsin particular, approving boys’
academic behavior and disapproving their social behavior more frequently (Swinson &
Harrop, 2009). However, there has been little research directly connecting teachers’ gender
beliefs with student outcomes. The present research addresses this lacuna by investigating the
effect of teachers’ gender stereotypes about reading on students’ self-concepts.
Gender Stereotypes in Education
Stereotypes can be broadly defined as “shared beliefs about personality traits and
behaviors of group members” (Fiedler & Bless, 2001, p. 123). Stereotyping results from
categorizing individuals into groups, according to their presumed common attributes. While
stereotypes can function as cognitive schemas to facilitate social interactions with unknown
individuals, as overgeneralizations of traits for a group in general, they also shape
expectations and behaviors. Consensually shared stereotypes within a culture can serve as
social norms for behavior toward the stereotyped group (e.g., Asbrock, Nieuwoudt, Duckitt,
& Sibley, 2011; Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2007). In respect of gender, the two groups, males
and females, are presumed to differ in their traits, abilities, and motivation (cf. Schmenk,
2004). The latter two are of particular interest in education while, as mentioned above,
stereotypes depend on the particular domain that is being considered. Research investigating
gender stereotypes in the educational context has mainly focused on stereotype threata
phenomenon describing how stereotypes can become self-fulfilling in a particular situation
(Aronson & Steele, 2005; Steele, 1997). Stereotype threat means a situational threat due to a
negative stereotype about one’s own group (Steele, 1997). In the educational context,
stereotyped persons will feel extra pressure not to fail in a situation where academic
competence is relevant. Regarding gender, there is quite strong evidencemainly from
experimental researchfor the negative impact of stereotype threat on the performance of
girls or women in mathematics tests (e.g., Nguyen & Ryan, 2008 for a review). Moreover, in
a recent study Hartley and Sutton (2013) investigate the role of stereotype threat in boys’
general academic underachievement. In one study, they show that girls and boys believed
that girls academically outperform boys, and also thought that adults believed this. In a
second study, they manipulate stereotype threat by telling the children in their sample that
boys tend to perform lower than girls at school. This manipulation negatively affected the
boys’ performance in reading, writing, and mathematics but had no effect on girls’
Moreover, Plante et al. (2013) have investigated students own gender stereotypes and
their associations with self-concept, task values, and achievement in a naturalistic setting.
They tested the hypothesis from expectancy-value theory (e.g., Eccles & Wigfield, 2002) that
the relationship between gender stereotypes and academic outcomes is mediated by students’
self-concepts and task values in the corresponding domain. In their cross-sectional study they
found that effects of gender stereotypes on achievement in mathematics and language arts
were mediated by students’ self-concepts and task values. However, Plante et al. (2013) only
investigated the students’ own stereotypes. Thus, the idea of expectancy-value theory, that
the gender beliefs of significant others affect students self-concept development, could not be
tested. Generally, this is an under-researched issue. Even though stereotypes have been a
“hot topic” in general, as Jussim, Eccles, and Madon (1996) realize, only a few studies have
investigated the effects of stereotypes of significant others in more naturalistic settings. To
the best of our knowledge, there has not been much development in the research since this
conclusion was drawn. One notable exception is research showing that parents’ stereotypic
beliefs affect children’s perceptions of their ability. For example, Jacobs and Eccles (1992)
have shown that across three domainsmathematics, sports, and social domain—mothers’
gender stereotypes either lead to an overestimated perception of their child’s ability, if the
child is stereotypically favored, or to an underestimation of their child’s ability, if the child is
stereotypically disadvantaged. In turn, the mothers’ perceptions of their child’s ability affect
the children’s own perception of their ability. Similarly, Tiedemann (2000) found that
mothers’ and fathers’ gender stereotypes predicted their beliefs about their child's abilities,
which in turn were related to their child’s self-perceptions of ability. More recently, Rouland,
Rowley, and Kurtz-Costes (2013) found that parents’ gender stereotypes were related to their
attributions for their children’s academic successes and failures that in turn were related to the
children’s own self-beliefs.
However, less is known about the effects of stereotypes in other groups of significant
others. In the educational context, of course, one of the most important groups is that of
teachers, because they interact with children on a daily basis, instruct them, judge them,
andas a consequencedevelop evaluations of the children’s cognitive and social
development and long-term career prospects. Indeed, there has been a vast amount of
research on the related issue of teacher expectations for low- and high-achieving students (for
a review see Jussim & Harber, 2005). While there has been some research on student gender
as a potential moderator of teacher expectation effects (e.g., de Boer, Bosker, & van der Werf,
2010), there are less studies on teachers’ explicit beliefs about boys’ and girls’ different
domain specific abilities. Such beliefs, however, may have significant consequences on
students’ outcomes. Teachers acting upon gender stereotypes could—consciously or
unconsciouslyshape social interactions in class by, for example, creating a warm and
challenging atmosphere for students from positively stereotyped groups and a cold and less
challenging environment for students from negatively stereotyped groups (Aronson & Steele,
2005). Moreover, in one of the few studies on teachers’ explicit gender stereotypes
Tiedemann (2002) found that they are related to the teachers’ beliefs about effort and ability
in mathematics. Effects on student outcomes, however, have not been investigated in that
In research into the effects of teachers’ gender stereotypes, one should be aware of the
particular age of the students participating in the investigation. There is some research
showing that with increasing age, children become more and more aware of widely-held
stereotypes (Martinot, Bagès, & Désert, 2012; McKown & Weinstein, 2003) and are more
likely to endorse traditional stereotypes themselves (Rowley, Kurtz-Costes, Mistry, &
Feagans, 2007). Even more important, in relation to the present research, is that students in
late childhood or early adolescence become more and more aware of other persons’
stereotypes. In a study by Kurtz-Costes, Rowley, Harris-Britt, and Woods (2008), for
example, middle school children seemed to be more aware of adult stereotypes than were
elementary school children. Thus, even though teachers may, of course, shape students’ self-
concepts at a young age, the focus of the present research on investigating the effects of
teacher stereotypes in late childhood seemed appropriate.
The Present Investigation
Drawing on the idea that the gender-related beliefs and actions of significant others
such as peers, parents, and teachers may affect the development of students’ academic self-
concept (e.g., Eccles & Wigfield, 2002; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000), we aimed to investigate
the relation of teachers’ gender stereotypes to students’ reading self-concept. We followed a
longitudinal design with two waves of data collection. Our study went beyond previous
research, as we investigated the consequences of teachers’ explicit gender beliefs for the
development of reading self-concept as a relatively stable personal characteristic. We
analyzed the effect of teachers’ stereotypes on reading self-concept over and above previous
reading achievement. This is important, because it is obvious that prior academic
achievement is influential in the formation of subsequent self-concept (Shavelson, Hubner, &
Stanton, 1976); this is also true in the domain of reading (Retelsdorf, Köller, & Möller, 2014).
Moreover, to account for the possible influence of ability-grouping on students’ self-concept
(e.g., Marsh et al., 2008) we included the aggregated between-level achievement and reading
self-concept as well as school track into our data analysis. In Germany, after elementary
school, students are assigned to different types of school; these aim to prepare students either
for a vocational apprenticeship (non-academic track schools) or for university entrance
(academic track schools).
Since gender beliefs about reading stereotypically favor girls (Plante et al., 2013;
Schmenk, 2004), we expected that the negative gender stereotypes of boys’ reading abilities
would affect their reading self-concept. For girls, however, the expectations were less clear.
On the one hand, there is evidence that even positive stereotypes can have negative effects,
because high expectations may lead to so-called “choking under pressure”, which results in
lower performance (Cheryan & Bodenhausen, 2000). On the other hand, girls’ reading self-
concepts are quite positive (Archambault et al., 2010) and the effects of stereotypes are
generally expected to be rather small, so that a significant effect of teachers’ gender
stereotype on girls’ reading self-concept was not expected.
Sample and Procedure
Our sample stemmed from the larger longitudinal project LISA (in the German:
Lesen in der Sekundarstufe” [Reading in secondary school]), which mainly deals with the
individual and contextual determinants of reading comprehension (e.g., Retelsdorf, Becker,
Köller, & Möller, 2012; Retelsdorf, Köller, & Möller, 2011). This study drew on a sample of
N = 1,508 secondary school students from 60 classes, drawn as representative of the federal
state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Data collection was performed by trained research
students and took place as group tests, carried out in class during regular lessons. The student
questionnaire including the reading self-concept measure and the reading achievement tests
was administered toward the beginning of grade 5, a few weeks after the beginning of the
school year (T1) and again after an interval of approximately 18 months, in the second half of
grade 6 (T2). Moreover, within 14 days of the data collection among the students at T1 all 60
German language teachers were asked to work on a teacher questionnaire including the items
measuring their gender stereotypes; N = 54 teachers answered (66 % female). Thereby, it is
the established practice in secondary school that teachers usually change only every two
years. In this study, only those students were included for whom teacher data also were
available; this reduced the sample to n = 1,358 students (49 % girls; girls’ age at T1: M =
10.96, SD = 0.61; boys’ age at T1: M = 10.82, SD = 0.51; 36 % at academic track schools).
Applying t-tests for reading achievement and reading self-concept and χ²-tests for students’
gender, we tested whether the excluded students differed in the study variables from the
included students. None of these tests yielded significant results (p .135).
Reading Self-Concept
We assessed reading self-concept with a subscale from the ‘Habitual Reading
Motivation Questionnaire’ (Möller & Bonerad, 2007) that comprises four items measuring
students’ evaluations of their own reading skills. Thus, the self-concept items refer to the
comprehension of texts rather than to more basic reading skills (e.g., Generally,
understanding texts is easy for me.). Students rated their agreement with each item on a 4-
point Likert-type scale anchored at 1 (does not apply to me) and 4 (applies to me).
Cronbach’s α measures were sufficient at both waves of data collection (αT1 = .74, αT2 = .75).
Teachers’ Gender Stereotypes
Teachers at T1 were asked to answer three questions measuring their gender
stereotypes about reading. They were asked if boys or girls read better, read more, and have
more fun reading. Each answer was rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale, anchored at boys
much better/more (1) and girls much better/more (5). The reliability of the scale was good
(α = .87).
Reading Achievement
In this study, we used reading comprehension tests from the German section of the
Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Bos et al., 2005). The students’ task was to
read several texts and answer questions on the texts’ content. The questions mainly focused
on students’ skills in forming a broad and general understanding of the texts and in retrieving
information from the texts. The test comprised of 27 itemsmainly multiple-choice items
with four possible answers, but some open-format questions have also been included. The
item parameters were estimated by applying the partial credit model, because some items
were scored polytomously. We estimated weighted likelihood estimates (WLE) as subjects’
ability scores using ConQuest (Wu, Adams, & Wilson, 1998). The WLE-reliability of the
reading tests was sufficient (.82).
Statistical Analyses
We analyzed the association between teachers’ gender stereotypes and students’ self-
concept by means of multiple group multilevel modeling, using Mplus 7.1 (Muthén &
Muthén, 2013). Thereby, every teacher taught one class in our sample so that between-
teacher and between-class effects are the same. Reading self-concept at T1, reading
achievement, and teachers’ gender stereotype were standardized (M = 0, SD = 1). Reading
self-concept at T2 was standardized at the T1 mean and standard deviation of reading self-
concept. To test our assumption that teachers’ gender stereotypes affect boys’ but not girls’
self-concept, we specified a multiple group model with gender as a grouping variable. Since
every teacher, however, teaches boys and girls, we had to deal with the situation that the
grouping variable was within-level. Thus, within each cluster there could be varying random
effects for boys and girls that cannot be directly specified as multiple group multilevel
models. Asparouhov and Muthén (2012) have suggested introducing latent variables that
represent this variation in between-level random effects. This approach also allows proper
accounting for the covariance between the two group specific cluster effects. We tested a
series of models predicting reading self-concept at T2 using this approach. In the first model,
we included reading self-concept at T1 and teachers’ gender stereotypes as predictors. In the
second model, we additionally controlled for students’ reading achievement at T1. Third, we
additionally included aggregated scores of reading self-concept and reading achievement at
T1, and school track as between-level covariates. The aggregated data were not standardized
again at between level.
We evaluated effect sizes to facilitate the interpretation of our results, following
Tymm’s proposal (2004) for calculating effect sizes in multilevel models. The effect size Δ
can be interpreted similarly to Cohen’s d (Cohen, 1988), and is calculated using the
unstandardized regression coefficient in the multilevel model, the standard deviation of the
predictor variable at between level, and the residual standard deviation at within level.
Due to missing data we used multiple imputed data in all analyses as a state-of-the-art
approach to address this problem (cf. Graham, 2009). On average, 11 % of the data per
variable were missing. Multiple imputation was applied to create m = 20 complete data sets
using Mplus 7.1 (see Graham, Olchowski, & Gilreath, 2007 for a discussion on the sufficient
number of imputations). All subsequent analyses were then conducted 20 times, and the
results were combined automatically in Mplus.
Descriptive Statistics
As presented in Table 1, students’ reading self-concept was above the theoretical mean
of 2.5 at T1 and T2, indicating that students were quite confident in their reading skills.
Moreover, boys had a higher reading self-concept than girls at T1, whereas girls had a higher
reading self-concept than boys at T2. However, none of these differences yielded significance
in a Wald chi-square test: χ²(1) 3.714, p .054. Girls also gained higher reading achievement
scores at T1. Finally, the relatively high score of teachers’ gender stereotypes indicated that
on average, the teachers believed that girls had higher reading abilities than boys.
Multilevel Analyses
We estimated the intraclass correlation (ICC) for reading self-concept at T2 testing the
proportion of total variance that can be attributed to between-class differences resulting in an
ICC of .114. Thus, with more than 10 % a substantial amount of the variance in reading self-
concept goes back to differences between classes.
The results of our multiple group multilevel analyses are presented in Table 2. First,
we tested a model (Model 1) in which reading self-concept at T1 was included as a within-
level predictor and teachers’ gender stereotype as a between-level predictor of reading self-
concept at T2. For boys and girls, reading self-concept proved to be a significant predictor;
thus indicating a certain stability of reading self-concept. Moreover, as expected, a significant
negative effect of teachers’ gender stereotypes on students’ reading self-concept was recorded
for boys but not for girls (effect sizes: Δboys = -.28, Δgirls = -.01). The difference between boys
and girls was tested by applying a Wald chi-square test, which indicated that the association
between teachers’ gender stereotype and reading self-concept was significantly stronger for
boys than for girls (χ² = 11.05, df = 1, p < .001). In Model 2 we additionally included reading
achievement at T1 as a within-level predictor; this also proved to be a significant predictor of
reading self-concept at T2. The effect of reading self-concept at T1 was still significant, but
slightly smaller than in Model 1. Moreover, the negative effect of teachers’ gender stereotype
was again recorded for boys but not for girls (effect sizes: Δboys = -.25, Δgirls = -.03). Again,
this difference was significant (χ² = 6.10, df = 1, p < .05). Finally, we tested a third model
(Model 3), in which we additionally included aggregate scores of reading achievement at T1
and reading self-concept at T1 and school track as between-level covariates. None of these
additional variables yielded significance. Moreover, the effects of the within-level predictors
and teachers’ gender stereotype were similar to those in Model 2 (effect sizes: Δboys = -.23,
Δgirls = -.04). The Wald chi-square test comparing the effect of teachers’ gender stereotype
between boys and girls, again was significant (χ² = 3.94, df = 1, p < .05).
To illustrate the differential associations between teachers’ gender stereotypes and
students’ reading self-concept, simple slopes were plotted for the results of Model 2 for boys
and for girls (Figure 1). We chose this model because the additional predictors in Model 3
did not contribute to the prediction of reading self-concept at T2. Therefore, we understand
Model 2 to be the most relevant model; it also meets the claim of parsimony. The simple
slope analysis for Model 3, however, resulted in a similar pattern. Stronger gender
stereotypessuch as, that teachers believe that girls outperform boys in readingare
associated with boys’ lower reading self-concept, whereas girls’ reading self-concept was
unaffected by teachers’ stereotype.
As an exploratory analysis we also tested whether teachers’ gender or the interaction
teachers’ gender × teachers’ gender stereotype had different effects on boys’ and girls’
reading self-concept at T2. In line with the assumption of the so-called same-sex teacher
advantage (for a detailed discussion see Neugebauer, Helbig, & Landmann, 2011) one might
have expected that boys’ reading self-concept would benefit from a male teacher and girls’
reading self-concept might benefit from a female teacher. Moreover, these benefits could be
due to different gender stereotypes, depending on the teachers’ gender. However, neither
teachers’ gender nor the interaction term were significant predictors of boys’ and girls’
reading self-concepts (p ≥ .154). Moreover, the results of the model, including teachers’
gender and their interaction, were by and large the same as the results of Model 3.
The aim of this research was to investigate whether teachers’ stereotypes affected
students’ self-concepts in reading, a stereotypically female domain. We expected teachers’
gender stereotypes about students’ reading abilities—namely, that girls perform better in
reading tasks—to negatively affect boys’ but not girls’ reading self-concepts. Therefore, we
drew on longitudinal data comprising two waves of data collection to predict students’
reading self-concept at the end of grade 6 with the previously (beginning of grade 5) reported
teacher stereotypes, controlling for previous reading self-concept. Our hypothesis was
corroborated: boys’ reading self-concept in grade 6 was lower for students whose teachers
reported high scores for gender stereotypes. No effect was recorded for girls. Moreover, the
effect was also robust when students’ previous achievement on individual and class level, and
school track, were included. Thus, our results have shown that teachers’ gender stereotypes
negatively affect boys’ reading self-concept over and above their actual performance.
Additionally, our results indicate that, on average, teachers’ reading stereotypes favor girls.
Consequently it is possible that even less stereotyped teachers favor girls over boys in the
reading domain, indicating that the total effect of gender stereotypes might be greater than we
can show in our analyses. However, this interpretation is rather speculative and needs further
Before discussing the implications of our findings in more detail, we first discuss the
absence of gender differences in the mean level of reading self-concept. This finding is in
line with other research that does not support the assumption of gender differences in
language-related self-concepts (Anderman et al., 2001; Evans et al., 2011; Skaalvik &
Skaalvik, 2004). One possible explanation deals with the particular age of our students.
Conjecturally, at the onset of puberty the intensification of gender differences is only
beginning. Although there is no evidence for such gender intensification in longitudinal
studies (Jacobs et al., 2002), our results do suggest the tendency for an opposing trend in girls’
and boys’ reading self-concept, favoring girls. Another explanation, provided by Skaalvik
and Skaalvik (2004), deals with the idea that gender differences in self-concepts are based on
perceptions of individual strength and weaknesses across different domainssimilarly to
what is proposed in dimensional comparison theory (Möller & Marsh, 2013). Thus, gender
differences would not become obvious in group comparisons within a single domain but only
in comparisons of self-concepts in different domains. Our data however do not allow for
analyses along these lines. Regardless of this question of group differences, our results
nevertheless provide some evidence that variability in reading self-concept development may
be explained in part by teachers’ gender stereotypes. In the remainder of this paper we
discuss the implications of these findings.
Theoretical and Practical Implications
Our findings help our understanding of the development of reading self-concept in
secondary school, and contribute to our knowledge of possible reasons for gender differences
in self-concept. However, even though our study comprised longitudinal data, and we were
able to control for important predictors of reading self-concept, we cannot draw causal
conclusions, since we cannot rule out the effects of unobserved variables. Our study,
however, complements experimental data on the consequences of specific stereotype content
(e.g., Becker & Asbrock, 2012; Cuddy et al., 2007) by providing high external validity, due to
the naturalistic setting in actual school life. The results support the assumption of expectancy-
value theory, that gender beliefs of significant others play an important role in shaping
students’ ability self-concepts. We found evidence that, in addition to parents’ (Jacobs &
Eccles, 1992; Tiedemann, 2000) and students’ own (Plante et al., 2013) stereotypes, teachers’
gender stereotypes also play an important role in shaping students’ self-conceptsover and
above students’ actual achievement. Consequently, these stereotypes might explain to some
extent why gender differences in language-related self-concept increase over time
(Archambault et al., 2010; Jacobs et al., 2002). However, these effects were rather small in
terms of Cohen’s (1988) classification of effect sizes. At least in children of the age of 10
years and older, however, reading self-concept seems to be quite stable (Retelsdorf et al.,
2014), so that large effects cannot be expected and thus, even small effects may still be of
practical relevance. This might be even more relevant when taking into account that teachers’
stereotypes are a rather distal determinant of students’ self-concept compared to their
achievement or other student level variables. It might be interesting though, to test the
relations of teachers’ gender stereotypes with younger students’ self-concept development.
Jacobs et al. (2002) reported much greater decreases of language self-concept from grade 1 to
grade 5 than from grade 6 to grade 12particularly for boys. Thus, there might be sensitive
developmental stages in which environmental influences have particularly pronounced effects
on children’s self-concept—however, younger students may not be aware of teachers’
stereotypes (e.g., Muzzatti & Agnoli, 2007). Moreover, there may be greater cumulative
effects over a longer period of time.
Another open question deals with the mediating processes. We were not able to
investigate such processes between teachers’ gender stereotypes and students’ reading self-
concept. Thus, we do not know whether teachers who think that boys are less able to read
than girls actually treat boys and girls differently. However, it seems plausible that teachers’
beliefs would influence their own behavior in classroom, as indicated by experimental studies
on the effects of specific stereotypes on outgroup-directed behavior (e.g., Becker & Asbrock,
2012; Cuddy et al., 2007; for an overview see Cuddy, Glick, & Beninger, 2011). As a
consequence, boys’ reading self-concept might suffer from teachers’ behavior even when
their reading abilities are similar to girls’ abilities. As Rubie-Davies, Hattie, and Hamilton
(2006) discuss, there is some evidence that teachers who hold stereotypes regarding particular
groups will alter their practices and limit opportunities to learn for negatively stereotyped
students. This is in line with research on the effects of incompetence-stereotypes: Groups
perceived as incompetent are ignored or excluded more than other groups (Cuddy et al.,
2011). Moreover, teachers believing in a certain stereotype may tend to make remarks or to
behave in ways that make these stereotypes more salient in class, thus indicating stereotype
threat (Aronson & Steele, 2005). Apart from teachers’ classroom behavior, increasing
awareness of widely-held stereotypes (McKown & Weinstein, 2003) and developing
knowledge of adults’ stereotypes (Muzzatti & Agnoli, 2007) may shape the students’ own
gender beliefs. As a further consequence, they may react by adapting their own self-concept
to these gender beliefs (cf. Kurtz-Costes et al., 2008).
Another question deals with the problem of the accuracy of teachers’ gender beliefs:
the so-called “kernel of truth” of their gender stereotype. It could be argued that, taking into
account recent results from large-scale assessments (cf. Mullis, Martin, Foy, & Drucker,
2012; OECD, 2010), teachers’ beliefs of girls outperforming boys in reading are to some
extent true. This problem is somehow connected to the argument that teacher expectations
have an impact on students’ achievement simply because their expectations are accurate
(Jussim & Harber, 2005). According to our results, this would mean that there is a negative
effect of teachers’ gender stereotype on boys’ reading self-concept just because boys do in
fact have lower reading abilities. These lower abilities should then lead to boys’ decreasing
reading self-concept. Similarly, since boys are likely to show declining motivation related to
language-related tasks in grade 5 and grade 6 (cf. Jacobs et al., 2002) our results may reflect
teachers’ accurate appraisal of boys’ declining language-related motivation. In this study,
however, we controlled for individual achievement as well as for mean class achievement, so
that teachers’ gender stereotypes have been shown to exert an additional effect on students
reading self-concept that goes beyond the effect of actual achievement. Moreover, the teacher
questions on gender stereotypes were generally worded, not related to the particular classes
they were teaching. Considering that the teachers completed the questionnaire only a few
weeks after they first met their students, it seems plausible to assume that the teachers’ beliefs
about gender differences were not affected by the individual students’ motivational declines.
An important question that arises from our findings is what teachers can do to
counteract the reported relation between their own stereotypes and boys’ reading self-concept.
Generally, it is a good idea to counteract prior gender stereotypes and make the expectation
clear in class that boys and girls perform equally well (Hartley & Sutton, 2013). Moreover,
during their teacher education, teachers should be apprised of the fact that their beliefs do
have consequences and that, consciously or not, they may be prone to certain biases in their
treatment of boys and girls. Although cultural stereotypes are widely shared, and guide
behavioral reactions, people can choose to overcome this automatic effect (Fiske, 2004).
Most research investigating similar discriminatory behavior in class has dealt with girls in
mathematics and science and thus the question here is, whether language teachers behave
similarly. We cannot answer this question yet, due to the lack of research in language
teaching, but it would appear that certain rules for teachers’ classroom behavior, as
summarized by Woolfolk (2010) should be introduced in the near future.
However, it should be noted that there is strong evidence that in general, teachers
interact more frequently with boys than with girls (Jones & Dindia, 2004). This difference
has mainly been found in relation to negative interactions such as criticism, while no
difference in positive interactions such as praise or acceptance has been found.
Unfortunately, Jones and Dindia did not test the effects of domain or school subject, so their
meta-analysis does not provide information on differences in mathematics and language
teaching. In a study by Worrall and Tsarna (1987), the self-reported classroom interactions of
science and language teachers were compared. These authors found that girls are relatively
favored in language subjects, compared with boys, whereas no differences in science have
been reported. Regarding the question as to what teachers can do, Woolfolk (2010) suggests a
kind of checklist on how to avoid discriminatory behavior in the classroom. First of all, she
encourages teachers to be aware of bias in their own behavior. Do the teachers group boys
and girls for certain tasks? Do they prefer boys or girls when asking questions regarding
particular topicse.g., boys for technical and girls for social issues? Second, she asks
teachers to check their teaching material for gender inequalities, such as presenting traditional
role models. Third, teachers should have a critical look at general inequalities at the school
for example, if there is biased advice regarding course selection. Fourth, teachers should use
gender neutral language whenever possible. Fifth, teachers should introduce role models that
do not represent traditional gender roles.
Our study complements previous research by investigating the effects of teachers’
stereotypes on students’ reading self-concept, drawing on a relatively large sample tested in a
naturalistic setting. Our results suggest that not only do gender stereotypes have short-term
effects like those investigated in the framework of stereotype threat theory (cf. Aronson &
Steele, 2005), but they can also explain the long-term development of reading self-concept as
a relatively stable personal characteristic. In our study, boys were the disadvantaged group.
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to be considered in the light of general male advantage in society, such as the gender pay gap
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Table 1
Means and Standard Deviations of the Study Variables
Reading self-concept T1
Reading self-concept T2
Reading achievement T1
Teachers’ gender stereotype
Note. Weighted likelihood estimates (WLE) have been estimated as subjects’ ability scores
for reading achievement. Nteachers = 54, Nstudents = 1358.
Table 2
Results of the Multiple Group Multilevel Analyses Predicting Reading Self-Concept at T2
Model 1
Model 2
Model 3
within level
Reading self-concept T1
Reading achievement T1
between level
Teachers’ gender stereotype T1
Reading self-concept T1
Reading achievement T1
School track
Note. All variables but the dummies have been standardized (Reading self-concept T2 was standardized at the mean at standard deviation of
Reading self-concept T1); school track was dummy-coded (0 = non-academic track, 1 = academic track). Bold printed parameters are significant
(p < .05, Nteachers = 54, Nstudents = 1358).
Figure Captions
Figure 1. Relation between teachers’ gender stereotype on boys’ and girls’ reading self-
concept at T2 (from Model 2 in Table 1; all variables have been standardized).
Figure 1
-1,50 -1,00 -0,50 0,00 0,50 1,00 1,50
Students' reading self-concept T2
Teachers' gender stereotype
... Accordingly, it has been suggested that gender is likely to be more salient in some social interactions than in others and different social settings may activate certain stereotypes or social scripts regarding gender identity and achievement (Ridgeway, 2009). So far, research has tended to focus on a specific dimension of gender differences (e.g., boys' lower reading scores or girls' under-representation in STEM), thus, providing important yet narrow explanations for the existence of such differences (Legewie and DiPrete, 2014;Mann et al., 2015;Retelsdorf et al., 2015;Riegle-Crumb and Morton, 2017;Muntoni and Retelsdorf, 2018). Thus, there is a shortage of theoretical explanations covering the broad constellation of gender differences and similarities in terms of educational outcomes, as well as empirical research investigating the social construction of gender identity and inequality in social contexts (Riegle-Crumb et al., 2018). ...
... Accordingly, if a girl believes that boys are more competent in mathematics, she might view mathematical competence as inconsistent with female gender identity and thus, doubt her mathematical ability. Indeed, research has shown associations between gender stereotypes and students' self-concept in the traditionally maledominated subject of mathematics (Riegle-Crumb and Peng, 2021) and the traditionally female-dominated subject of reading (Retelsdorf et al., 2015;Muntoni et al., 2021). Second, we investigated whether gender-stereotypical achievement patterns in the classroom affected the competence beliefs of male (female) students in mathematics (language) and the extent to which counter-stereotypical achievement reduced gender gaps in selfconcept across gender-stereotypical subject domains. ...
... However, recent studies have explored the role of stereotype threat and the generally negative impact of genderstereotypical beliefs in the context of the classroom, emphasizing the role of the gender-stereotypical beliefs of socializing agents such as teachers and peers for various student outcomes. Specifically, factorial survey studies have found evidence of teachers' judgment of students being biased by gender stereotypes (Holder and Kessels, 2017), while the gender-stereotypical beliefs of teachers have been found to negatively affect girls' achievement (Alan et al., 2018) and self-concept (Heyder et al., 2019) in mathematics and boys' self-concept (Retelsdorf et al., 2015) and achievement (Muntoni and Retelsdorf, 2018) in reading. Similarly, the gender-stereotypical beliefs of peers have been found to negatively affect girls' achievement in math (Salikutluk and Heyne, 2017) and boys' self-concept in reading (Muntoni et al., 2021). ...
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This study investigated the role of social contexts for gender disparities in education by examining the associations between gender-stereotypical beliefs (GSB) of students, peers, and teachers and gender achievement patterns in the classroom and students’ self-concept in language and math. We applied multilevel models with school fixed effects to a unique sample of combined survey and register data from Denmark to analyze detailed learning environments within schools and their correlations with gender differences in self-concept across subject domains. Results showed a gender gap in favor of boys in mathematics, net of academic achievement that were consistent across classrooms. In language, the influence of gender varied across classrooms. Furthermore, although GSB and gender achievement patterns did not alter the gender gap in either language or mathematics, we found that they moderated the relationship between gender and self-concept in heterogeneous ways across subjects. While teachers’ GSB increased the gender gap in language by decreasing boys’ self-concept, the students’ own GSB was more important for students’ self-concept in mathematics. Moreover, girls’ mathematics self-concept was lower in classrooms, in which, female peers had a relatively higher level of mathematics achievement compared to boys, suggesting that counter-stereotypical achievement patterns in the classroom do not increase students’ self-concept in subjects with strong gender stereotypes. On the contrary, girls are most likely to compare themselves to female peers, resulting in a negative association with self-evaluations. Our results highlighted the role played by social contexts in schools in the generation of gender differences in self-concept in traditionally stereotyped subject domains, but also showed important differences in how boys and girls were affected by their learning environments across different subject domains, suggesting there are different mechanisms at play.
... These stereotypes are used to explain, justify and rationalize gender-based distinctions in society (Hoffman & Hurst, 1990). Individuals separate tasks according to gender role stereotypes and have higher self-concept for tasks that are appropriate to their gender (Eccles et al., 1993;Halpern, 2012;Retelsdorf et al., 2015). Individuals perceive reading as a female field (Plante et al., 2009;Retelsdorf et al., 2015). ...
... Individuals separate tasks according to gender role stereotypes and have higher self-concept for tasks that are appropriate to their gender (Eccles et al., 1993;Halpern, 2012;Retelsdorf et al., 2015). Individuals perceive reading as a female field (Plante et al., 2009;Retelsdorf et al., 2015). Espinoza and Strasser (2020) found in the research that they conducted with high school students that both male and female students had reading-related gender stereotypes. ...
... This situation may have limited our ability to see the true performance of students. While teachers' gender stereotypes do not affect girls' self-concepts of reading, they have a negative effect on boys' selfconcepts of reading (Retelsdorf et al., 2015). However, the fact that in examining the reading self-concepts of boys and girls in this study, teachers' gender stereotypes could not be evaluated within the scope of the research can be regarded as a limitation of the study. ...
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The purpose of this study is to explain the gender differences in reading achievement with the mediating role of metacognitive strategies and reading-related attitudes. Hypotheses were tested with 6890 students [3396 (49.3%) females, 3494 (50.7%) males] who participated in PISA 2018 in Turkey. The path analysis results indicated that gender had significant associations with metacognitive strategies and reading-related attitudes. One remarkable result is that gender affected metacognitive strategies about lower cognitive levels more than strategies about higher cognitive levels, and that the female advantage was reduced for upper metacognitive strategies. Additionally, reading-related attitudes, except for perception of reading competence, and metacognitive strategies were significantly associated with reading achievement. In addition, the results revealed that metacognitive strategies and reading-related attitudes, except for perception of reading competence, fully mediated gender and reading achievement. Overall, the results show that the gender difference in reading achievement is not only due to gender itself, but may also be due to differentiation of the metacognitive strategies and reading-related attitudes of girls and boys. As a result, the teaching of metacognitive strategies and development of reading-related attitudes to students are recommended, in order to reduce the gender gap in reading achievement. Limitations, practical implications, and recommendations for future research are discussed.
... L'objectif de cette étude est d'examiner les différences entre des filles et des garçons qui ont une perception biaisée de leur compétence en lecture. Dans cette discipline, où les filles réussissent mieux que les garçons, on peut penser que les filles biaisées négativement (en illusion d'incompétence) craignent non seulement l'échec, mais aussi d'être de mauvaises représentantes de leur groupe (Frome & Eccles, 1998 ;Hyde & Kling, 2001 ;Martinot, Bagès & Désert, 2012 ;Retelsdorf, Schwartz & Asbrock, 2015). Cette dernière inquiétude pourrait alors envahir leurs pensées et interférer avec leur performance lors d'un test. ...
... Ce résultat va dans le sens de notre deuxième hypothèse, selon laquelle le biais d'auto-évaluation négatif de sa compétence en lecture touche surtout les filles. L'explication de cette moindre performance tient très probablement dans l'association de l'anxiété d'évaluation qu'on sait accrue chez les élèves biaisés négativement Miserandino, 1996 ; pour une revue en français voir Bouffard et al., 2013) et de la crainte d'être une mauvaise représentante du groupe féminin, connu habituellement pour performer en lecture (Frome & Eccles, 1998 ;Martinot, Bagès & Désert, 2012 ;Retelsdorf, Schwartz & Asbrock, 2015). Ces craintes renforceraient la pression évaluative et les détourneraient de la tâche à réaliser pour in fine interférer avec leur performance. ...
L'illusion d'incompétence, ou biais négatif d'auto-évaluation, est souvent nuisible à l'apprentissage. Les élèves qui sous-estiment leur compétence présentent, comparativement aux autres, une motivation moindre, des attentes de réussite moins élevées, des attitudes plus négatives envers l'école et des performances inférieures à leur capacité. En revanche, suresti-mer sa compétence semble plutôt bénéfique aux élèves. Dans cette étude, nous avons examiné les différences de performances des garçons et des filles d'âge élémentaire ayant un biais d'auto-évaluation négatif ou positif de leur compétence en lecture. 100 élèves (52 filles, 48 garçons) présentant un biais négatif ou positif stable dans le temps ont été sélectionnés. Les résultats montrent qu'avoir un biais négatif d'auto-évaluation de sa compétence en lecture est plus néfaste pour les filles que pour les garçons. Les filles qui sous-estiment leur compétence ont des performances inférieures (1) à celles qui surestiment leur compétence, et (2) aux garçons, indépendamment de l'orientation de leur biais. En conclusion, nous discutons les raisons pour lesquelles l'illusion d'incompétence semble être particulièrement préjudiciable aux filles, alors même qu'elles obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que les garçons en lecture-voir PISA, 2018. Abstract: The illusion of incompetence, or negative self-evaluation bias, is widely recognized as harmful to learning. Underestimation of competence is detrimental to students, who exhibit lower motivation, fewer expectancies for success, more negative attitudes toward school, and usually obtain performances that are inferior to their abilities. In contrast, overestimation of competence is often beneficial for students. In this study, we examined reading performance differences between boys and girls with a negative and a positive self-evaluation bias of their reading competence. We selected 100 students in elementary school (48 boys and 52 girls) who had a stable negative or positive self-evaluation bias profile. The findings showed that having a negative self-evaluation bias of reading competence was more deleterious to the performance of girls than boys. Girls who underestimated their competence had lower performances than (1) girls who overestimated their competence, and than (2) boys, regardless of the orientation of their self-evaluation bias. In conclusion, we explore why the illusion of incompetence seems to be especially detrimental for girls, even though they perform better than boys in reading-see PISA, 2018.
... Zum anderen erfahren Kinder und Jugendliche durch die Reaktionen dieser Bezugspersonen auf ihr eige nes Verhalten, welche Verhaltensweisen, Attribute und In teressen als angemessen für sie eingeschätzt werden (vgl. Kessels & Heyder, 2018 (Dickhäuser & StiensmeierPelster, 2003;Retelsdorf, Schwartz & Asbrock, 2015). ...
... Auch Lehrkräften und Eltern kommt bei der Reduktion von Geschlechtsunterschieden in schulischer Motivation eine wichtige Rolle zu, da sich ihre geschlechtsspezifischen Überzeugungen oder Stereotype bedeutsam auf die Selbstkonzepte und Interessen ihrer Schülerinnen und Schüler bzw. Kinder auswirken (Kollmayer, Schober & Spiel, 2018;Retelsdorf et al., 2015). Es ist daher sinnvoll, sich der eigenen Geschlechterstereotype bewusst zu wer den und ihrem Einfluss auf das eigene Verhalten aktiv entgegenzuwirken. ...
Zusammenfassung. Schulfachbezogene Selbstkonzepte und Interessen gehören zu den wichtigsten motivationalen Konstrukten in der Pädagogischen Psychologie und zeigen typischerweise stereotype Geschlechtsunterschiede: Während Jungen in Mathematik und den Naturwissenschaften im Mittel ein höheres Selbstkonzept und Interesse aufweisen, berichten Mädchen höhere Werte in sprachlichen Fächern. Erste empirische Ergebnisse von wiederholt durchgeführten Studien des Bildungsmonitorings weisen auf einen leichten Rückgang im Selbstkonzept und Interesse in Deutschland über den Verlauf der untersuchten Kohorten hin. Jüngste Befunde zeigen diesen Rückgang insbesondere für Jungen im MINT-Bereich. Trotz substantieller Zusammenhänge zwischen motivationalen Merkmalen und schulischen Leistungen wurde bisher nicht untersucht, inwiefern diese Motivationsrückgänge auf Veränderungen in schulischen Leistungen zurückgeführt werden können. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht deshalb, (a) ob die Kohortentrends in den fachbezogenen Selbstkonzepten und Interessen für Jungen und Mädchen je nach Fach unterschiedlich ausfallen und insbesondere, (b) ob sich etwaige (geschlechtsspezifische) Trends in der fachbezogenen Motivation auf Unterschiede in Testleistungen und Noten zwischen den Erhebungszeitpunkten zurückführen lassen. Auf Basis der IQB-Bildungstrendstudien wurden Daten von je etwa 25000 Neuntklässlerinnen und Neuntklässlern in den Jahren 2012 und 2018 (Fächer Mathematik, Physik, Chemie und Biologie) bzw. von je etwa 35000 Neuntklässlerinnen und Neuntklässlern in den Jahren 2009 und 2015 (Fach Deutsch) ausgewertet. Während sich für Mädchen in Mathematik und den naturwissenschaftlichen Fächern keine oder geringfügig positive Veränderungen zwischen den Kohorten zeigten (–0.05 >≤ d >≤ 0.07), fanden sich für Jungen zumeist (leichte) Rückgänge in den Selbstkonzepten und Interessen (–0.31 >≤ d >≤ –0.08). Insbesondere die Veränderung im Mathematikinteresse bei Jungen war bedeutsam ( d = –0.31). Im Fach Deutsch zeigte sich ein gegensätzliches Bild: Bei beiden Geschlechtern stiegen die Selbstkonzeptwerte im Kohortentrend geringfügig an (Mädchen/Jungen: d = 0.07/0.06). Diese geschlechtsspezifischen Trends in der Motivation ließen sich nicht bedeutsam auf Testleistungs- und Notenunterschiede zwischen den Kohorten zurückführen. Die Ergebnisse werden im Hinblick auf verschiedene Erklärungsansätze für (geschlechtsspezifische) Kohortentrends in schulischer Motivation diskutiert.
... In this period, peer relationships can have a strong influence on adolescents' academic and broader well-being. For example, a study of 5 000 adolescent students in Sweden found that girls' interest in STEM subjects was highly influenced by their friends' preferences (Raabe, Boda and Stadtfeld, 2019 [48]). Girls tended to retain their interest in STEM subjects when other girls in their classroom continued to enjoy these subjects. ...
In spite of advances in recognising that girls and boys, and women and men, do not have to be bounded by traditional roles, gender stereotypes persist in education and beyond. Children and youth are affected by gender stereotypes from the early ages, with parental, school, teacher and peer factors influencing the way students internalise their gender identities. As such, not only is intervening in pre-primary education necessary, but also measures at the primary and secondary levels are key to eradicate gender stereotypes and promote gender equality. Based on the analytical framework developed by the OECD Strength through Diversity project, this paper provides an overview of gender stereotyping in education, with some illustrations of policies and practices in place across OECD countries, with a focus on curriculum arrangements, capacity-building strategies and school-level interventions in primary and secondary education.
... While this is undoubtedly an important topic, it is equally as important to continue research in subject where male students are disadvantaged as well. Reading, writing, and language arts is a subject where boys have consistently displayed lower levels of interest, self-efficacy, and motivation (OECD, 2019; Retelsdorf et al., 2015). Increasing intervention research in these subjects is also a crucial step in closing the gender gap between all students. ...
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Background: Research shows that gender differences tend to exist in student motivational-affective factors in core subjects such as math, science or reading, where one gender is stereotypically disadvantaged. Aims: This study aimed to investigate strategies that could reduce these gender differences by conducting a meta-analysis on school-based intervention studies that targeted student motivational-affective factors. We therefore evaluated whether interventions had differential effects for male and female students' motivational-affective factors in a given academic subject. We also evaluated potential moderator variables. Method: After conducting a systematic database search and screening abstracts for inclusion, we synthesized 71 effect sizes from 20 primary studies. All included studies were conducted in science or mathematics-related subjects, which are stereotypically female-disadvantaged. Results: While the interventions had significant positive effects for both genders, there was no statistically significant difference between the two genders with regard to the intervention effects on motivational-affective factors. However, the descriptive effect size for female students (g = .49) was far greater than for male students (g = .28). Moderator analyses showed no significant effects for grade level, intervention duration, or school subject, but there was a significant influence of intervention method used. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that school-based interventions have positive effects on motivational-affective factors for both genders. It also provides evidence that interventions in subjects where female students are stereotypically disadvantaged may have greater effects for females than for males. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
... Accordingly, gender differences are mediated by sex-role identity and related to cultural opportunity structures for women (Reilly, 2012). Moreover, gender stereotypes about girls' and women's lesser abilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are widely prevalent in Western cultures (Nosek et al., 2010;Nosek and Smyth, 2011;Hand et al., 2017) and predict women's lower STEM engagement (Hyde et al., 1990;Halpern et al., 2007;see Nosek and Smyth, 2011; for similar findings on reading and boys, see e.g., Retelsdorf et al., 2015;Muntoni and Retelsdorf, 2018). In this vein, in many Western countries, women remain underrepresented in the mathematical professions (Wang and Degol, 2017). ...
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Stereotypes of girls having weaker mathematical abilities than boys (math-gender stereotypes) are one factor reducing women’s representation in mathematics. Teachers, as powerful socializers, often hold math-gender stereotypes. Reducing math-gender stereotypes in (student) teachers thus may foster women’s representation in mathematics. Yet knowing the stereotypes’ underlying assumptions is crucial to reducing it. Do math-gender stereotypes reflect elaborate, disproven theories about gender differences in math, meaning math-gender misconceptions? And if so, which math-gender misconceptions are behind math-gender stereotypes? This is the focus of the present research. The relevant literature implies the existence of three distinct misconceptions: (1) empathizing-systemizing (“As girls think rather empathically and boys think rather systematically, boys are on average more talented in math than girls”), (2) girls’ compensation (“To achieve equally good grades in mathematics, boys have to make less effort because they are more talented than girls are”), and (3) girls’ non-compensability (“Despite their on average stronger effort, girls are normally less proficient in math than boys”). We assessed these misconceptions in a student teacher sample (N = 303) using our newly developed Math-Gender Misconceptions Questionnaire. Our results offer support for the expected three-factor structure of math-gender misconceptions. All three math-gender misconceptions showed good to acceptable scale reliabilities. On average, preservice teachers did not hold (strong) math-gender misconceptions. But a subgroup of 48.2% of preservice teachers held at least one of the three misconceptions. The empathizing-systemizing misconception was the most prevalent (32.0%) among the three misconceptions. Descriptively, endorsing the math-gender stereotype correlated most strongly with the empathizing-systemizing (r = 0.43) and the girls’ compensation misconception (r = 0.44). This may indicate that especially these two misconceptions partly underlie math-gender stereotypes. As a consequence, refutation instructions designed to reduce these misconceptions may be a promising method to weaken math-gender stereotypes. Further research is needed to investigate to what degree reducing the present misconceptions is related to reducing math-gender stereotypes. Hence, this study is the first one of a planned series of studies on the relation between math-gender misconceptions and math-gender stereotypes.
Gender stereotypes are often an unconscious notion, which can unjustly confine individuals’ pathways to that of those deemed acceptable in society. Therefore, this qualitative study aimed to explore whether such ideals are shown by primary school students’ and their teachers. Results showed that gender stereotypes were present, with both students and teachers expressing this. Students indicated that all six professions explored had large stereotypes. Teachers were largely in agreement, noting that although they felt able to challenge such ideals, many of them had no formal training throughout their teaching program. The results offer a rationale for more initial teacher training programs to explore the effects of gender stereotypes, preparing teachers to challenge these early on while children are developing their long-term beliefs, to avoid unjust bias.
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The aim of the study was to analyse teachers' interactions with students in order to track the differences in the messages given to pupils depending on their gender, and to study the opinions of students about the behaviour of their teachers. As part of the research, 34 hours of lessons (divided into 17 hours of mathematics and 17 hours of Polish language lessons) were observed. Additionally, the opinions of 68 students (34 girls and 34 boys) were analysed. The study employs mixed methods of data analysis (Stromquist 2007), combining a qualitative approach based on elements of grounded theory (Glaser, Strauss 2017) with quantitative comparisons of the frequency of the teacher's behavior, using χ 2 tests. The results indicate the differing nature of teachers' interactions with girls and boys; the number of interactions and their quality are more favourable in the case of boys. Girls are more often overlooked, and their achievements and contributions are less frequently noticed. In addition, students are aware of the differences in how they are treated by their teachers, pointing out, inter alia, to the importance of providing equal treatment to all students.
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It is important for children’s well-being to know how children perceive their own situation. An individual usually defines their situation based on how they feel. Every human being is the best expert of their own emotional life, including children. A child has a need to be seen and heard. For this experience to be achievable, children’s situations must also be identified outside of a child’s own emotional experience. This applies to both emotional well-being and distress. The theory of recognition validates the need of every individual to be identified and recognized in their own environment. Usually, parents and teachers are the adults who spend the most time with children. For this reason, it can be assumed that they are the ones who have the most accurate knowledge regarding the children’s situations. When we know which emotional states the adults identify, we gain information about children’s emotional states. Identifying children’s emotional states is beneficial for professionals working with children. If children’s distress is not identified, they may be left without much-needed support and if children’s positivity is not recognized, they may be left without encouragement. This study examines what children’s emotional states parents and teachers identify and what emotional states are left unidentified. An emotional state is a phenomenon that comprehensively affects a child’s everyday action and behavior. The research material was collected using a structured questionnaire, which was filled out by 989 5th and 6th grade students between the ages of 11 and 12 as well as 780 of their parents and 50 of their teachers. The age group data specifically represents the urban population from Central Finland and children from the countryside as well as Finnish subteens in general. The children, parents and teachers filled out The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which consists of claims related to emotions and behavior. In this study, it is assumed that emotional states affect behavior, and therefore the claims that are related to behavior will be interpreted as representations of emotional states. The evaluations of children’s behavior and emotions that were filled out by the parents and teachers are compared to the ones filled out by the children. The comparison is carried out utilizing statistical tests and multivariate methods. The results of this study indicate that parents and teachers do not always identify children’s emotional states. Parents and teachers did not identify restlessness and anxiety in children. Anxiousness did not visibly affect children’s behavior, but instead it manifested itself as an internal emotional state that was difficult to identify. Restlessness manifested itself as both internal restlessness and restless behavior. Parents were able to identify children’s sympathy fairly well and children’s sense of outsideness well, but teachers were under risk to not identify children’s sympathy well enough. Children’s sense of outsideness was barely left unidentified by teachers. Similarly to restlessness, sympathy also manifested itself as both an internal emotion and as visible positive behavior towards others. It can be concluded that professionals working with children should not rely too much on information conveyed by a child’s parents. Information related to a child’s emotional state is especially limited. The results of this study encourage parents, teachers and other adults working with children to pay more attention to building a healthy, interdependent relationship with children. When adults care, respect and appreciate children, children are encouraged to talk about their internal restlessness and anxiousness. They also express sympathy more readily. This study and previous studies have shown that most children feel well. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that children also need positive feedback whenever it is justifiable.
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This chapter reviews the recent research on motivation, beliefs, values, and goals, focusing on developmental and educational psychology. The authors divide the chapter into four major sections: theories focused on expectancies for success (self-efficacy theory and control theory), theories focused on task value (theories focused on intrinsic motivation, self-determination, flow, interest, and goals), theories that integrate expectancies and values (attribution theory, the expectancy-value models of Eccles et al., Feather, and Heckhausen, and self-worth theory), and theories integrating motivation and cognition (social cognitive theories of self-regulation and motivation, the work by Winne & Marx, Borkowski et al., Pintrich et al., and theories of motivation and volition). The authors end the chapter with a discussion of how to integrate theories of self-regulation and expectancy-value models of motivation and suggest new directions for future research.
A series of studies by Taylor and Simard (1975) demonstrated that cross-cultural communication can be, in objective terms, as effective as within-group communication. We should ask then, why this is not always the case, and subjectively too. A major part of the answer, we believe, lies in the role played by stereotypes. We therefore consider the nature of stereotypes, their cognitive foundations and consequences, social functions, resistance to change, and relationship to behaviour.
A reading motivation questionnaire is developed which contains items that are posited to tap four dimensions of reading motivation. The structural validity of the questionnaire was investigated with two samples: In Study 1, exploratory factor analysis with data from N = 392 fourth and fifth graders found four factors, reading enjoyment, reading for interest, competition, and selfconcept. With confirmatory factor analyses, the four-factor solution did adequately fit the data in Study 2 (N = 1455 fifth graders). Further analyses showed adequate test criteria such as internal consistency, and convergent resp. discriminant validity. Gender and school type differences are reported also. The authors suggest that the scales be used as an economic way of measuring reading motivation, in particular within large scale assessments.
A general theory of domain identification is used to describe achievement barriers still faced by women in advanced quantitative areas and by African Americans in school. The theory assumes that sustained school success requires identification with school and its subdomains; that societal pressures on these groups (e.g., economic disadvantage, gender roles) can frustrate this identification; and that in school domains where these groups are negatively stereotyped, those who have become domain identified face the further barrier of stereotype threat, the threat that others' judgments or their own actions will negatively stereotype them in the domain. Research shows that this threat dramatically depresses the standardized test performance of women and African Americans who are in the academic vanguard of their groups (offering a new interpretation of group differences in standardized test performance), that it causes disidentification with school, and that practices that reduce this threat can reduce these negative effects.