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Autori: Selimbegović, Leila; Blažev Mirta; Karabegović, Mia; Šimunović, Mara; Burusić, Josip
Naslov: Predicting gender-STEM stereotyped beliefs among Croatian boys and girls from prior achievement and interest in STEM school subjects
Skup: ECER 2017. - European Conference on Educational Research
Mjesto i datum: Copenhagen, Denmark, 22.-25.08.2017
Ključne riječi: gender stereotypes, STEM, prior achievement, interest
The present research examines the possibility to predict the level of gender-STEM stereotyped beliefs among boys and girls from their experience with STEM-related school subjects (prior achievement and interest) in a new EU member country, Croatia. Women are still dramatically underrepresented in occupations regarding physical sciences (31%), computer and information sciences (24%) and engineering (15%), although they are better represented life sciences (48%) and even mathematics (42%, National Science Board [NSB], 2016 ; National Science Foundation [NSF], 2013). However, in most countries, there are no gender differences in science and math achievement between boys and girls, based on international PISA (OECD, 2016) and TIMSS (Mullis et al., 2016) studies. Indeed, research indicates that the gender gap in STEM fields cannot be accounted for by differences in prior achievement (Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky, & Muller, 2012). So if girls achieve at comparable levels to boys in STEM fields, why do they chose STEM-related careers much less frequently? Studies show that girls have less interest for STEM school subjects and express less positive attitudes towards these subjects and STEM fields in general (American Association of University Women [AAUW], 1991, 1992 ; Brandell & Staberg, 2008 ; Catsambis, 1995). Interst, in turn, is related to career choice (Cheryan & Plaut, 2010). Moreover, boys participate in more science related activities at school and at home and have higher science self-efficacy (OECD, 2016). These differences can at least partly be explained in relation to sociocultural factors such as gender stereotypes about male superiority in math and science (Brandell & Staberg, 2008 ; Cvencek, Meltzoff & Greenwald, 2011 ; Nosek et al., 2009). It is believed that internalization of these gender stereotypes is related to women's interest for STEM fields and their choice of related careers (e.g., Schmader, Johns, & Barquissau, 2004). Croatia has recently joined the European Union and represents a region in which not much research has been conducted about STEM gender stereotypes, although some data is available regarding mathematics. Mathematics seems not to be viewed as more appropriate for boys than for girls in among Croatian pupils (Pavlin-Bernardić, Ravić & Borović, 2012 ; Pavlin-Bernardić, Vlahović-Štetić & Mišurac Zorica, 2010). However, a more complete assessment is necessary, taking into account other STEM-related fields. Therefore, the first objective of the present research is to verify whether Croatian elementary school pupils endorse gender-STEM stereotypes, in relation to several STEM-related fields. Based on previous research on mathematics, it can be hypothesized that such beliefs are weak in this population. The second objective was to explore to what extent these stereotyped beliefs are related to pupils’ experience with STEM-related school subjects ; specifically, their prior achievement and their interest in these subjects, as a function of gender. While most previous research focuses on how achievement and career choice can be accounted for by stereotyped beliefs, here we asked the reverse question: to what extent can we account for stereotyped beliefs by prior achievement and interest in STEM school subjects? It was hypothesized that both prior achievement and interest in STEM-related school subject would interact with gender to predict gender-STEM stereotype endorsement. More precisely, prior achievement and interest were predicted to be negatively related to stereotype endorsement among girls, and positively related to stereotype endorsement among boys. Indeed, we expected those who displayed a stereotype-consistent achievement pattern in STEM subjects (girls with low and boys with high performance) to have stronger gender-STEM stereotypes, because such beliefs are consistent with their personal history. Similarly, pupils whose interest in STEM subjects was stereotype-consistent (girls uninterested and boys interested in these fields) were expected to have relatively stronger stereotyped beliefs. Method Participants Participants were 880 Croatian primary school pupils. Measures Alongside a gender variable, the following measures were used. Average interest in STEM subjects included the following five school subjects: Nature (similar to the American Science subject), Geography, Maths, and Technical Education. Respondents were asked to assess their interest in the subjects on a scale ranging from (1) „I don't find it interesting at all“ to (5) „I find it very interesting, “ with the middle of the scale (3) indicating mild interest in the subject matter. STEM school achievement was operationalized as the average of respondents' final marks in school subjects relevant for STEM areas, from the previous school year. As the school subjects vary according to the age and grade of participants, the subjects included differed for the students in the 4th, 5th and 6th grade, in that for those participants in the 4th grade, the STEM achievement was represented by their mark in Maths, while for the older students (5th and 6th grades), it was the average of their final grades in Nature, Geography, Maths, and Technical Education. Stereotyped beliefs about school subjects were measured by using a list of all school subjects, on which participants had to indicate whether the subject was „more suitable“ for girls or for boys (on a scale ranging from 1 = more suitable for girls to 5 = more suitable for boys). Themidpoint of the scale (3) indicated the belief that the subject is equally suitable for both genders. From this scale, we calculated an index of stereotypical beliefs by averaging the students' answers for subjects stereotypically seen as predominantly „male“. Procedure The present data were collected in 8 Croatian primary schools during the first testing phase of the larger JOBSTEM research project. The results presented here concern a subset of the whole sample, i.e. they include only the data from participants in the control schools. The questionnaires were administered to the students in their own classrooms in a paper and pen format during school hours. The testing for the whole questionnaire, in which the scales described above were embedded, took two successive school periods (2 x 45 minutes) with a short 5-minute break in-between, and was scheduled with the schools in advance. Each testing session was overseen by researchers and/or research assistants, who read the preliminary instructions out loud and answered any questions. Expected Outcomes To examine the degree to which Croatian primary school pupils adhere to the gender-STEM stereotype, we compared the average level of stereotype endorsement to the midpoint of the scale that reflected the belief that STEM-related subject are equally appropriate for boys and for girls. This comparison yielded a significant result, suggesting that respondents do indeed endorse the gender stereotype, t(874) = 5.94, p < .001, although effect size was small, Cohen’s d = 0.20. Bayesian analyses indicated, however, that the hypothesis whereby average stereotype endorsement is different from 3 is more than a million times more likely than the null hypothesis, BF10 = 1.174e+06. To test the interaction hypotheses, we regressed stereotype endorsement on gender, prior achievement in STEM subjects, interest in STEM subjects, and all their interactions. Taken together, these predictors accounted for 3.7% of the total variance in stereotype endorsement (adjusted R square), a small but significant effect, p < .001. The analysis yielded a significant effect of gender, β = .13, p < .001, and of prior STEM achievement, β = .08, p = .02. These effects suggest that boys endorsed the stereotype somewhat more than girls did, and that pupils successful in STEM subjects tended to have stronger stereotypical beliefs about these subjects, irrespective of gender. Contrary to the hypothesis, prior STEM achievement did not interact with gender. Nevertheless, interest in STEM subjects interacted with gender to predict stereotype endrosement, β = .14, p < .001. As predicted, interest in STEM subjects was positively related to stereotype endorsement among boys, β = .17, p < .001, but these constructs were negatively associated among girls, β = −.11, p = .025. All other effects were non significant. This work may help improve the understanding the psychological dynamics of school achievement in conjunction with gender and gender stereotypes.
Vrsta sudjelovanja: Predavanje
Vrsta prezentacije u zborniku: Nije objavljen
Vrsta recenzije: Međunarodna recenzija
Izvorni jezik: ENG
Kategorija: Znanstveni
Znanstvena područja:
Upisao u CROSBI: Ivan Dević (, 5. Stu. 2017. u 17:50 sati

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