The role of motivation in gendered educational and occupational trajectories related to maths

Helen Margaret Gilchrist Watt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    153 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examined the continued gender imbalance in mathematics participation in senior high, which has implications for adolescents' future careers. It confirms persisting greater male participation in maths-related educational and occupational choices among this sample of Australian youth. Gendered course-taking in maths, along with participation intentions for maths-related careers, were explained using the Expectancy–Value framework of Eccles and colleagues (Eccles (Parsons) et al., 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000). The influences of maths-related self-perceptions, intrinsic and utility values, and perceived task difficulty were assessed using longitudinal data from a sample of 442 adolescents spanning Grades 9 through 11 in Sydney, Australia. Gendered maths-related self-perceptions and intrinsic values were the major influences on gendered educational participation in senior high maths, which subsequently predicted maths-related career aspirations—over and above prior mathematical achievement. Utility value showed a curvilinear relationship with maths-related occupational intentions moderated by gender, whereby girls with the highest utility values planned for highly maths-related careers, while boys with mid through high utility values planned similarly highly maths-related careers. Recommendations focus on ways to enhance participation in maths, especially for girls.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)305-322
    Number of pages18
    JournalEducational Research and Evaluation
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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