This study was conducted to examine whether Finnish parents would endorse the “the classic gender-related attribution pattern” and explain their son's mathematical performance in terms of talent and their daughter's in terms of effort. In addition, we examined whether the pattern of attributions would be the opposite in regard to parental explanations of their child's reading performance. A group of parents (N = 486), both mothers and fathers, were requested to assess the level of competence of their 1st grader in mathematics and reading. The parents were also asked to recall events from their child's 1st school year in which the child succeeded and failed in mathematics and reading; they were then asked to evaluate the importance of talent, effort, and task to the child's outcomes. The parents of boys assessed their child's mathematical competence to be higher than did the parents of girls. Furthermore, the parents of boys rated talent as a more important reason for their child's mathematical success than did the parents of girls. In contrast, the parents of girls rated effort as a more important reason for their child's mathematical success. Although the girls were perceived to surpass boys in reading, the girls' positive outcomes in reading were explained by effort more than the boys' outcomes, and at the highest level of assessed competence, the boys' verbal talent was rated as a more significant cause of success in reading than the girls' verbal talent. In sum, our results suggested that in both mathematics and reading, girls were not entitled to ability-based attribution to the same extent as were boys.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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