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Top-Performing Math Students Worldwide: A Meta-Analysis of Gender Differences in Achievement and Motivation

Fri, April 17, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Virtual Room


The present study examined gender differences in top-performing math students’ achievement, achievement profiles, and achievement motivation in mathematics, reading, and science across 80 countries. We meta-analyzed five representative, high-quality samples of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA, N = 175,744, 15-year-olds). Male students were slightly overrepresented in the top 5% in mathematics (mean female-to-male ratio 1:1.44) and slightly outperformed female students in mathematics (dmean=0.15). Female students possessed better reading skills (dmean=-0.62). Gender differences in science achievement were negligible (dmean=0.00). Male students demonstrated a distinct mathematics- or science-oriented achievement profile, whereas female students’ profiles were more balanced across domains. Male students reported higher math intentions and self-efficacy and female students more interest, enjoyment, and a higher self-concept in verbal domains.