The Effect of Gender and Ethnicity on Selected Topics in Mathematics among Secondary School Students
Mathematics is indispensable in daily activities and is a required subject in the education system. By understanding the possible factors contributing to students’ ability to learn mathematics, paving solutions to overcome the debility is conceivable. This study aims to examine the effect of gender and ethnicity on students’ performance in the topics of Rational Number, Factors and Multiples, and Algebraic Expressions. A total of 181 secondary school students from eight schools (male = 97, female = 84; Malay = 109, Chinese = 44, Indian = 28) were selected as sample of this study. Their response in a nine-item mixed-format mathematics test was thoroughly analysed to provide coherent information on their performance on each topic. Results showed that there was no significant difference in the students' performance based on gender. Yet, Chinese students demonstrated higher mean scores in all topics compared to their Malay and Indian counterparts. This article provides a discussion on the results obtained from the cultural perspective.
Awofala, A. O. A. (2017). Assessing secondary school students’ mathematical proficiency as related to gender and performance in mathematics in Nigeria. International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 3(2), 488-502. https://doi.org/10.21890/ijres.327908.
Bee Fang, L., & Hooi Lian, L. (2019). Effects of the metaphor in algebra learning among students in lower secondary. Jurnal Pendidikan Sains dan Matematik Malaysia, 5(2), 51-70.
Beekman, J. A., & Ober, D. (2015). Gender gap trends on mathematics exams positive girls and young women for STEM careers. School Science and Mathematics, 115, 35-50. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssm.12098.
Bezzina, F. H. (2010). Investigating gender differences in mathematics performance and in self‐regulated learning: An empirical study from Malta. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal, 29(7), 669-693. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151011074407.
Birenbaum, M., & Nasser, F. (2006). Ethnic and gender differences in mathematics achievement and in dispositions towards the study of mathematics. Learning and Instruction, 16(1), 26-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2005.12.004.
Chen, H. C., & Wang, N. S. (2014). The assignment of scores procedure for ordinal categorical data. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, 304213. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/304213.
Clements, D. H. (2001). Mathematics in the preschool. Teaching Children Mathematics, 7, 270-275.
Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., & Greenwald, A. G. (2011). Math-gender stereotypes in elementary school children. Child Development, 82, 766-779. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01529.x.
Fryer, R., & Levitt, S. (2010). An empirical analysis of the gender gap in mathematics. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 29(2), 210-240. https://doi.org/10.1257/app.2.2.210.
Fukaya, T., Uesaka, Y., Ota, Y., Koizumi, K., & Ichikawa, S. (2017). Improving students' performance in an elementary mathematics class: Focusing on students' knowledge acquisition, utilization, and learning strategies using a “thinking after instruction” approach. Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology, 65(4), 512-525. https://doi.org/10.1111/10.5926/jjep.65.512.
Ghasemi, E., Burley, H., & Safadel, P. (2019). Gender differences in general achievement in mathematics: An international study. New Waves Educational Research & Development, 22(1), 27-54.
Hall, C. W., Davis, N. B., Bolen, L. M., & Chia, R. (1999). Gender and racial differences in mathematical performance. The Journal of Social Psychology, 139(6), 677-689. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224549909598248.
Harris, D., Lowrie, T., Logan, T., Hegarty, M. (2021). Spatial reasoning, mathematics, and gender: Do spatial constructs differ in their contribution to performance? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(1), 409-441. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12371.
Heidari, R. & Rejabi, F. (2017). An investigation of the relationship between mathematics performance of students in a non-routine problem, according to grade and gender. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 25(3), 11-19.
Hasni Shamsuddin, Nordin Abd. Razak, Lei Mee Thien, & Ahmad Zamri Khairani. (2020). Do boys and girls interpret mathematics test items similarly? Insights from Rasch model analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Educators and Education, 35(1), 17-36. https://doi.org/10.21315/apjee.35.1.2.
Hinnant-Crawford, B. N., Faison, M. Z., & Chang, M. L. (2016). Culture as mediator: Co-regulation, self-regulation, and middle school mathematics achievement. Journal for Multicultural Education, 10(3), 274-293. https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-05-2016-0032.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind(3rded.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hu, X., Leung, F. K. S., & Teng, Y. (2018). The Influence of culture on students’ mathematics achievement across 51 countries. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 16, 7-24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-018-9899-6.
Kamoo, G. (2015). Pengaruh latar belakang keluarga dan pencapaian akademik pelajar India di Malaysia. Jurnal Penyelidikan Pendidikan, 16, 110-123.
Kevelson, M. J. C. (2019). The measure matters: Examining achievement gaps on cognitively demanding reading and mathematics assessments. ETS Research Report Series, 2019 (1), 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1002/ets2.12278.
Lachance, J. A., & Mazzocco, M. M. M. (2005). A longitudinal analysis of sex differences in math and spatial skills in primary school age children. Learning and Individual Differences, 16, 195-216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2005.12.001.
Liu, O. L., & Wilson, M. (2009). Gender differences in large-scale math assessments: PISA trend 2000 and 2003. Applied Measurement in Education, 22, 164-184. https://doi.org/10.1080/08957340902754635.
Matteucci, M., & Mignani, S. (2021). Investigating gender differences in mathematics by performance levels in the Italian school system. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 70, 101022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2021.101022.
McGraw, R., Lubienski, S. T., & Strutchens, M. E. (2006). A closer look at gender in NAEP mathematics achievement and affect data: Intersections with achievement, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 37(2), 129-150. https://doi.org/10.2307/30034845.
Ministry of Education (2016). Dokumen standard kurikulum dan pentaksiran matematik Tingkatan 1(English version), Putrajaya, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia.
Ministry of Education (2016). Dokumen standard kurikulum dan pentaksiran matematik Tingkatan 2, Putrajaya, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia.
Ministry of Education (2017). Dokumen standard kurikulum dan pentaksiran matematik Tingkatan 3, Putrajaya, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia.
Nachiappan, S., Muthaiah, L., & Suffian, S. (2017). Analisis sikap murid terhadap mata pelajaran Sains di Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil). Jurnal Pendidikan Sains dan Matematik Malaysia, 7(2), 85-105. https://doi.org/10.37134/jpsmm.vol22.214.171.1247.
Najua Syuhada, A. A., Mohd Salleh, A., & Abdul Halim, A. (2017). Hindering factors in mastering higher-order thinkings skills: Application of Rasch measurement model. Man in India, 97(19), 275-280.
National Center for Education Statistics (2013). The nation’s report card, Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education.
Penner, A. M., & Paret, M. (2008). Gender differences in mathematics achievement: Exploring the early grades and the extremes. Social Science Research, 37, 239-253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.06.012.
Rocha, L. E. C., & Nascimento, L. F. (2019). Assessing Student's Achievement Gaps between Ethnic Groups in Brazil. Journal of Intelligence, 7(1), 7.
Royer, J. M., & Walles, R. (2007). Influences of gender, ethnicity, and motivation on mathematical performance, in D. B. Berch & M. M. M. Mazzocco (Eds.). Why is math so hard for some children? The nature and origins of mathematical learning difficulties and disabilities. Paul H Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, MD, US, pp. 349-367.
Semeraro, C., Giofrè, D., Coppola, G., Lucangeli, D., & Cassibba, R. (2020). The role of cognitive and non-cognitive factors in mathematics achievement: The importance of the quality of the student-teacher relationship in middle school. PLoS ONE, 15(4). e0231381. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231381
Sam, L. C. (2003). Cultural differences and mathematics learning in Malaysia. The Mathematics Educator, 7(1), 110-122.
Saw, G. K. (2016). Patterns and trends in achievement gaps in Malaysian Secondary Schools (1999–2011): gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Educational Research Policy and Practice, 15, 41-54. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10671-015-9175-2.
Saw, G., & Chang, C.-N. (2018). Cross-lagged models of mathematics achievement and motivational factors among Hispanic and non-Hispanic high school students. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 40(2), 240–256. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986318766511.
Subra, T. H., Abdullah, M. A. I. L., & Devi, K. (2019). Family's socio-economic influence on the dropout of Indian students: A case study in the district of Kuala Muda Kedah. International Journal of Modern Trends in Social Sciences, 2(9), 77-91. https://doi.org/10.35631/IJMTSS.29007.
Thien, L.M. (2016). Malaysian students’ performance in mathematics literacy in PISA from gender and socioeconomic status perspectives. Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 25, 657-666. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-016-0295-0.
Tsui, M. (2007). Gender and mathematics achievement in China and the United States. Gender Issues, 24, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-007-9044-2.
Yoong, S., Santhiram, R., Fatimah, S., Lim, C. S., & Munirah, G. (1997). Basic number concepts acquisitions in mathematics learning: An exploratory cross-cultural study. Unpublished Research Report.
Copyright (c) 2021 Hasni Shamsuddin, Jazimah Shamsuddin, Azwan Hairi Rabas, Nurul Nor Shahda Abd Talib, Nurul Syazwani Ismail, Ahmad Zamri Khairani
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.