Affection and gender differences in low achieving mathematics students in middle school

Sonia Ursini

Abstract: Attitudes, beliefs and self-confidence in mathematics regarding 192 ninthgrade
low achievers (96 girls and 96 boys) were studied in Mexico City. The sociocultural
and economic environment where these affects appear is stressed. In spite of economic
hardships, cultural gaps, lack of familiar and institutional supports, violence inside and
outside mathematics classroom, and traditional mathematics teaching, these students,
without gender differences, showed a good potential for mathematics learning and the
majority considered that there are no gender differences in the capability to learn this
subject. Gender differences were found in attitudes towards mathematics in general
(more polarized, or positive or negative, among women) and towards specific mathematics
areas. In general, their self-confidence was low, although more polarized for women;
however, men were more self-confident than women.

Keywords: attitudes, beliefs, self-confidence, mathematics achievement, low mathematics
performance, gender and mathematics.