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Investigating influences on the choice of Mathematics at GCE A-level: a gender perspective

Owusu-Amoah, Samuel (2015) Investigating influences on the choice of Mathematics at GCE A-level: a gender perspective. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This research investigates influences on student choice of Mathematics at General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level (A-level) from a gender perspective. One of the main aims of this study is to investigate the reasons why fewer girls than boys chose to study A-level Mathematics between 2005 and 2011 in the UK. The theoretical perspective of this study is the General Model of Academic Choice (Eccles, 2011). This model helped to make links between my analysis and existing concepts relating to gender, choice and performance in Mathematics. Three main kinds of data were collected and analysed in this case study involving three schools: face-to-face interviews with students and teachers, self-completed questionnaires with students, and the published examination results of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), in the UK. The study found that although proportionately more girls than boys attained grades A*-B at General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level 2005-2011, within the same period, more boys than girls chose A-level Mathematics. This is important because courses in which either males or females at GCSE level performed well, demonstrated a correspondingly higher rate of participation for the same gender in the same or similar courses at GCE A-level, with Mathematics being the exception. Evidence in my study suggests that improving girls’ confidence, positive attitudes and perceptions towards Mathematics could encourage girls’ participation in A-level Mathematics; but more importantly girls are more likely to continue to study Mathematics if their previous good performance is a direct effect of their enjoyment of Mathematics. Early engagement of girls with algebra can enhance confidence, positive attitude and perception of Mathematics, build a strong foundation in algebra and may subsequently increase their participation in A-level Mathematics. Finally, gender equity in Mathematics education should not only be about attaining equal outcome, but should work towards the elimination of obstacles inhibiting equal participation. I therefore propose that gender equity in Mathematics education should lead to less disparity in both performance and participation.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.678769
Depositing User: Dr Samuel Owusu-Amoah
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2016 15:52
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:06
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11849

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