n Gender and Behaviour - Gender differences in mathematics achievement : an exploratory study at a primary school in KwaZulu-Natal




The study examined whether there was a significant gender gap in mathematics achievement, and the nature of the gender gap. It also investigated factors associated with the differential performance of girls and boys in the mathematics class. The site for this study was a rural primary school in KwaZulu-Natal. Quantitative data was drawn from grade 6 mathematics achievement test results conducted in 2008 and 2009. In addition, individual semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews were conducted with 8 students (male = 4; female = 4) from the 2009 cohort of grade 6 students. The findings in the study revealed a gender gap in mathematics achievement in favour of girls. Key factors associated with the gender gap included the issue of boys and masculinities, the dynamics of classroom cultures, and the differential attitudes to learning in respect of boys and girls in the mathematics class.


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