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When being a girl matters less: accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex and coeducational classes and its impact on students' physics-related self-concept of ability.
Br J Educ Psychol. 2008 Jun; 78(Pt 2):273-89.BJ

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Establishing or preserving single-sex schooling has been widely discussed as a way of bringing more girls into the natural sciences.

AIMS

We test the assumption that the beneficial effects of single-sex education on girls' self-concept of ability in masculine subjects such as physics are due to the lower accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex classes.

SAMPLE

N=401 eighth-graders (mean age 14.0 years) from coeducational comprehensive schools.

METHODS

Random assignment of students to single-sex vs. coeducational physics classes throughout the eighth grade. At the end of the year, students' physics-related self-concept of ability was measured using a questionnaire. In a subsample of N=134 students, the accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge during physics classes was assessed by measuring latencies and endorsement of sex-typed trait adjectives.

RESULTS

Girls from single-sex physics classes reported a better physics-related self-concept of ability than girls from coeducational classes, while boys' self-concept of ability did not vary according to class composition. For both boys and girls, gender-related self-knowledge was less accessible in single-sex classes than in mixed-sex classes. To the extent that girls' feminine self-knowledge was relatively less accessible than their masculine self-knowledge, their physics-related self-concept of ability improved at the end of the school year.

CONCLUSIONS

By revealing the importance of the differential accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single- and mixed-sex settings, our study clarifies why single-sex schooling helps adolescents to gain a better self-concept of ability in school subjects that are considered inappropriate for their own sex.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Freie Universitaet Berlin, FB Psychology and Educational Studies, Germany. ursula.kessels@fu-berlin.deNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Language

eng

PubMed ID

17535522

Citation

Kessels, Ursula, and Bettina Hannover. "When Being a Girl Matters Less: Accessibility of Gender-related Self-knowledge in Single-sex and Coeducational Classes and Its Impact On Students' Physics-related Self-concept of Ability." The British Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 78, no. Pt 2, 2008, pp. 273-89.
Kessels U, Hannover B. When being a girl matters less: accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex and coeducational classes and its impact on students' physics-related self-concept of ability. Br J Educ Psychol. 2008;78(Pt 2):273-89.
Kessels, U., & Hannover, B. (2008). When being a girl matters less: accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex and coeducational classes and its impact on students' physics-related self-concept of ability. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(Pt 2), 273-89.
Kessels U, Hannover B. When Being a Girl Matters Less: Accessibility of Gender-related Self-knowledge in Single-sex and Coeducational Classes and Its Impact On Students' Physics-related Self-concept of Ability. Br J Educ Psychol. 2008;78(Pt 2):273-89. PubMed PMID: 17535522.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - When being a girl matters less: accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex and coeducational classes and its impact on students' physics-related self-concept of ability. AU - Kessels,Ursula, AU - Hannover,Bettina, Y1 - 2007/05/28/ PY - 2007/5/31/pubmed PY - 2008/8/19/medline PY - 2007/5/31/entrez SP - 273 EP - 89 JF - The British journal of educational psychology JO - Br J Educ Psychol VL - 78 IS - Pt 2 N2 - BACKGROUND: Establishing or preserving single-sex schooling has been widely discussed as a way of bringing more girls into the natural sciences. AIMS: We test the assumption that the beneficial effects of single-sex education on girls' self-concept of ability in masculine subjects such as physics are due to the lower accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex classes. SAMPLE: N=401 eighth-graders (mean age 14.0 years) from coeducational comprehensive schools. METHODS: Random assignment of students to single-sex vs. coeducational physics classes throughout the eighth grade. At the end of the year, students' physics-related self-concept of ability was measured using a questionnaire. In a subsample of N=134 students, the accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge during physics classes was assessed by measuring latencies and endorsement of sex-typed trait adjectives. RESULTS: Girls from single-sex physics classes reported a better physics-related self-concept of ability than girls from coeducational classes, while boys' self-concept of ability did not vary according to class composition. For both boys and girls, gender-related self-knowledge was less accessible in single-sex classes than in mixed-sex classes. To the extent that girls' feminine self-knowledge was relatively less accessible than their masculine self-knowledge, their physics-related self-concept of ability improved at the end of the school year. CONCLUSIONS: By revealing the importance of the differential accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single- and mixed-sex settings, our study clarifies why single-sex schooling helps adolescents to gain a better self-concept of ability in school subjects that are considered inappropriate for their own sex. SN - 0007-0998 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/17535522/When_being_a_girl_matters_less:_accessibility_of_gender_related_self_knowledge_in_single_sex_and_coeducational_classes_and_its_impact_on_students'_physics_related_self_concept_of_ability_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1348/000709907X215938 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -