Dara Shifrer

Date of Award

Spring 7-20-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 59 pages)


Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Fairness, Self-efficacy, Stereotypes (Social psychology), High school students -- Attitudes, Teachers -- Sex differences, Sex differences in education




Gender inequalities perpetuated by educational and occupational segregation may be exacerbated in part by socialization processes that occur in the years leading up to when high school students typically begin considering postsecondary options. Students’ feelings of self-efficacy in certain subjects can be an important factor that informs their decisions to pursue coursework and programs. This study used stereotype theory to understand how students' perceptions of their 9th grade math teacher's fairness affected their 11th grade math efficacy and how this relationship was moderated by the gender of the student and their math teacher. Using the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, linear regression models predicting students’ math efficacy in 2012 indicated that students have higher levels of math efficacy when they perceive their math teachers as more fair, though this relationship was explained away by controls. An additional interaction term between student gender and math teacher gender revealed that girls’ efficacy is more strongly affected by perceptions of their male math teachers than perceptions of their female math teachers. This finding may be explained by the persistence of stereotypes around math that assume male superiority in the subject, which leads students to see their male math teachers as true authorities in math as opposed to their female math teachers.

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