Teachers' attributions and beliefs about girls, boys, and mathematics

Elizabeth Fennema*, Penelope L. Peterson, Thomas P. Carpenter, Cheryl A. Lubinski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Thirty-eight first grade teachers were asked to identify their two most and least successful girls and boys in mathematics, to attribute causation of these students' successes and failures, and to describe their characteristics. Teachers' choices of most and least successful students were compared to mathematics test scores of their students. Teachers were most inaccurate when selecting most successful boys. Teachers tended to attribute causation of boys' successes and failures to ability and girls' successes and failures to effort. Teachers thought their best boy students when compared to their best girl students, were more competitive, more logical, more adventurous, volunteered answers more often to mathematics problems, enjoyed math more, and were more independent in mathematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Education

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