Influence of gender stereotypes on adolescents' perceptions of their own achievement

Laurel J. BORNHOLT, Jacqueline Goodnow, George Cooney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study of Australian students' perceptions of achievement argues for flexibility in gender stereotypes, varying with the frame of reference, and the multidimensionality of self-concepts. Students in the first 4 years of high school (N = 663) completed tests and questionnaires about mathematics and English. The systematic patterns of their responses depended on contrasting subject domains and the specific or general nature of aspects of their achievement. Gender differences in how well students thought they performed were at odds with similar performances on standardized tests. Two sources of gender stereotypes explain complex interactions of gender and subject domain for interrelated aspects of achievement-a tendency by males to overestimate specific task performance across domains, and traditional gender stereotypes about ''natural talent'' for females in English and for males in mathematics. The broad implications for ways we think about mathematics and gender require an understanding of discrete notions of ability and performance, and an acknowledgment of students' flexible self-categorizations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)675-692
    Number of pages18
    JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1994



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