The emergence of gender difference in children’s perceptions of their academic competence


Jennifer Herbert


Deborah Stipek

Year of Publication: 
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology

This longitudinal study assessed the emergence of genderdifferences in over 300 children'sacademic competency beliefs from kindergarten or first grade through fifth grade. Children, their parents and their teachers rated the children's competencies in math and literacy and their math and literacy skills were also assessed directly. Beginning in third grade, girls rated their math competencies lower than did boys, even though there was no genderdifference in math achievement or in teachers' ratings of children's math ability. Parents also rated boys' math competencies higher than girls in both third and fifth grades. Although girls outperformed boys on the literacy achievement measure in third and fifth grade, and teachers' ratings of children's literacy ability reflected this genderdifference in performance, genderdifferences were not found in either parents' or children's ratings of literacy ability. Results of regression analyses indicated that actual achievement and teachers' ratings predicted children's judgments of their literacy skills. Parent ratings of children'scompetence were a particularly strong predictor of children's judgments of their math skills.

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APA Citation

Herbert, J. & Stipek, D. (2005). The emergence of gender difference in children’s perceptions of their academic competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26(3), 276–295.