Math Performance and Sex: The Predictive Capacity of Self-Efficacy, Interest and Motivation for Learning Mathematics

Front Psychol. 2020 Aug 7;11:1879. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01879. eCollection 2020.


Differences between the sexes in education is something of particular interest in much research. This study sought to investigate the possible differences between the sexes in math performance, and to deeply examine the causal factors for those differences. Beginning from the administration of the BECOMA-On (Online Evaluation Battery of Mathematics Skills) to 3,795 5th year primary students aged 10-11, in 16 Spanish autonomous communities and the 2 autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. The results for each sex were compared to their perceptions of self-efficacy about completing the test items, and with their interest in and motivation for mathematics. Statistically significant differences were seen in the variables examined. The boys were generally more engaged with science and technical subjects. Generalizing from studies such as this aims to more thoroughly explore, and improve this situation.

Keywords: interest and motivation for math; math performance; primary education; self-efficacy; sex.