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Working paper

CAN TEACHER PRACTICES REDUCE THE GENDER GAP IN MATHEMATICS INTEREST FOR STUDENTS WITH DIFFERENT ACHIEVEMENTS?

Researchers have postulated that there is a positive effect of autonomy-supportive teacher practices on academic interest. Few studies, however, investigate how these practices can reduce the gender gap in mathematics interest. The goal of our study is to examine how autonomy-supportive practices effect on attitudes toward mathematics for girls and boys with different level of mathematics achievements. We used data from the Russian longitudinal study “Trajectories in Education and Career” (TrEC) to identify teacher practices which can reduce the gender gap in mathematics interest. Using hierarchical linear regression analysis we focused on two types of teacher practices: autonomysupportive and controlling. We conducted analysis for boys and girls separately and evaluated how the effect of teacher practices on mathematics interest varies for boys and girls in general and according to their level of mathematics achievements. Our analysis demonstrates that girls are more sensitive to different teacher practices and some autonomy-supportive practices have a positive effect on mathematics interest for girls only and no effect on boys’ interest. We also identified that some teacher practices have different effects on students’ interest according to the level of their prior achievements. Autonomy-supportive practices are more important for students with high achievements.