Sex-differences in attitude of students towards mathematics in secondary schools

  • Benjamin A Eshun University of Cape Coast, Ghana


The purpose of the study was to investigate Ghanaian secondary school students' attitudes towards mathematics. In particular, the study investigated the students' attitudes along the following seven dimensions: Confidence in learning mathematics; Usefulness of mathematics; Success in mathematics; Effective motivation; Mathematics anxiety; Mathematics as a male domain; Understanding mathematics; and Like doing mathematics. The study involved 1419 students from 12 secondary schools in the Central and Western Regions of Ghana. Data was collected using a questionnaire consisting of 65 items, some of which consisted of statements to which the students were required to agree or disagree to reflect their feelings and attitudes towards mathematics. The results of the study indicate differences in attitude between sexes in single-sex and mixed schools. Girls in mixed schools expressed the least success and confidence in doing mathematics as well as had higher mathematics anxiety. Less than half the students had mathematics anxiety. Slightly more than half the students were not effectively motivated to do mathematics. Over eighty percent of male students in single-sex schools like mathematics but only about half of the females in mixed schools did. While girls in single-sex schools expressed more confidence, girls in mixed schools expressed far less confidence than boys in both single-sex and mixed schools. In general the students had positive attitudes towards mathematics especially along the attitudinal variables, usefulness of mathematics, like mathematics and success in doing mathematics.No Abstract.

Mathematics Connection Vol. 4 2004: 1-13

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eISSN: 0855-4706