Gender differences favouring females in Estonian university students’ views of mathematics
Indrek Kaldo and Markku S. Hannula
This study reports on first-year Estonian university students’ views of mathematics. The data were collected from 970 university students of different disciplines. The participants completed a Likert-type questionnaire that was compiled from previously published instruments. The results reveal the importance of Mastery Goal Orientation as central to the structure of their views of mathematics. In this study, in five of six dimensions, females hold a more positive view of mathematics than do male students. Performance-Approach Goal Orientation was the only dimension in which we found no statistically significant gender difference. In all the other dimensions, the female respondents expressed a more positive affect towards mathematics: They showed a more powerful mastery orientation, valued mathematics more, felt more competent, perceived their teacher more positively, and cheated less frequently.
Indrek Kaldo is a PhD student in mathematics education at the Institute of Educational Sciences, Tallinn University. His research interests are students’ beliefs, attitudes and motivation towards the teaching and learning of mathematics, particularly at the university level. He has also 14 years experiences as lecturer in mathematics at university level.
Markku S. Hannula
Markku S. Hannula is professor in mathematics education at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki in Finland. His research interests include motivation, beliefs, emotions, problem solving, and gender in mathematics education. He feels comfortable with both quantitative and qualitative research methods and enjoys the challenges of synthesizing research findings across different research paradigms and theoretical frameworks.