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Achievement and Motivation in Mathematics and Science: The Role of Gender and Immigration Background

Malte Jansen, Petra Stanat


Disadvantages of girls in mathematics and science as well as general educational disadvantages of students with an immigration background are two widely discussed equity issues. However, previous research has rarely addressed these issues simultaneously. Based on theoretical considerations suggesting possible interaction effects, we compared the pattern gender differences in mathematics and science achievement and motivation of students with and without an immigration background. The results show negligible gender differences in achievement measures providing further support for the gender similarities hypothesis. With regard to motivational student characteristics, however, we found notable advantages for male students in all domains except biology. This effect pattern was found both for students with and without an immigrant background. Immigrant students in Germany, especially those with a Turkish background, lagged behind their peers from native families in achievement (but not motivation), yet no clear-cut interaction effects with gender were found. We conclude that the “gender gap” in STEM still exists with regard to motivation despite the lack of notable differences in achievement. Female students with an immigrant background seem to have neither a “double disadvantage” nor a relative advantage in these fields. Rather, there was some evidence that males with a Turkish background may be disadvantaged in science achievement



gender differences, immigration background, achievement, self-concept, interest, STEM

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