Do Growth Mindsets in Math Benefit Females? Identifying Pathways between Gender, Mindset, and Motivation
Despite efforts to increase female representation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), females continue to be less motivated to pursue STEM careers than males. A short-term longitudinal study used a sample of 1449 high school students (grades 9–12; 49% females) to examine pathways from gender and mindset onto STEM outcomes via motivational beliefs (i.e., expectancy beliefs, task value, and cost). Mindset, motivational beliefs, and STEM career aspirations were assessed between the fall and winter months of the 2014–2015 school year and math grades were obtained at the conclusion of the same year. Student growth mindset beliefs predicted higher task values in math. Task values also mediated the pathway from a growth mindset to higher STEM career aspirations. Expectancy beliefs mediated the pathway between gender and math achievement. This mediated pathway was stronger for females than for males, such that females had higher math achievement than males when they endorsed a growth mindset. Findings suggest possible avenues for improving female’s interest in STEM.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10964-017-0739-8
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