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  • Academic Performance and Self- Assessed Skills: Vanishing gender

    gaps?

    Victor Thiessen

    Academic Director, ARDC

    Dept. of Sociology and Social Anthropology

    Dalhousie University

    thiessen@dal.ca

  • ♦ In a comparative cross-national assessment, USA students ranked first for self-perceived math ability and South Korea last, whereas in actual performance, South Koreans ranked first and the USA close to last (Educational Testing Service, 1992)

  • The data: 2000 YITS 18-20 ♦ Based on Statistics

    Canada LFS ♦ Excludes Yukon,

    NWT, Nunavut ♦ Response rate: 80.9%

    ♦ N = 22,378 ♦ Normalized weighted

    analyses

  • Self-reported skill assessment

    ♦How would you rate your… – Ability to use a computer (C) – Writing abilities (W) – Reading abilities (R) – Oral communication abilities (O) – Ability to solve new problems (P) – Mathematical abilities (M)

  • Percentage of young adults who rate their skills as excellent

    7.414.2mathematical abilities 7.713.4problem solving abilities

    17.115.8oral communication abilities 25.219.3reading abilities 16.112.2writing abilities 8.516.4using a computer

    FemalesMalesPercent "excellent" in…

  • Highest grade and level of high school math and language classes

    37.334.954.044.7Gr. 12 University

    12.112.911.015.2Gr. 12 General

    24.422.64.45.6

  • Mean marks in mathematics and language

    3.043.033.403.11Gr. 12 University

    2.912.843.042.71Gr. 12 General

    2.962.902.972.52

  • Mean math skills relative to other skill domains

    -0.48-0.32problem solving abilities

    -0.69-0.26oral communication abilities

    -1.00-0.40reading abilities

    -0.75-0.11writing abilities

    -0.14-0.01computer abilities

    FemalesMalesMath skills relative to…

  • Map of human capital skills

    The structure of human capital skills

  • -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    c1

    c2

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    c5 w1

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    Biplot of human capital skills

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    Volume

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    er ic

    v s

    ve rb

    al )

    1F

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    Perceived skills in relation to language marks

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    b4F

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    b4A+

    g1Fg1D g1C

    g1B

    g1A

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    g2F g2D

    g2C

    g2B

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    g2A+

    g3F g3D

    g3C

    g3B g3A

    g3A+

    g4F

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    g4B

    g4A

    g4A+

    Perceived skills in relation to math marks

  • -1 .0 -0 .5 0 .0 0 .5 1 .0

    V o lum e

    -2

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    po si

    tio n

    b FF

    b DDb CC

    b B B b A A

    b A +A +

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    g DD g CC g B B

    g A A

    g A +A +

    b FF

    b FD b FC

    b FB

    b FA

    b FA +

    b DF

    b DD

    b DC b DB

    b DA b DA +

    b CF

    b CD b CC

    b CB

    b CA

    b CA +

    b B F b B Db B C

    b B B

    b B A

    b B A +

    b A F

    b A D b A C

    b A B

    b A A

    b A A +

    b A +Fb A +D

    b A +C

    b A +B b A +A

    b A +A +

    g FF

    g FD

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    g B F

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    g B C g B B

    g B A

    g B A +

    g A F

    g A Dg A C g A B

    g A A

    g A A +

    g A +F g A +D

    g A +C g A +B g A +A

    g A +A +

    Perceived skills by math and language marks

  • Math mark = language mark Math=Language

    Volume

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    po si

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    -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1

    F

    DC

    B A

    A+

    F D C

    B A

    A+

  • Combination of marks Math grade F

    Volume

    C om

    po si

    tio n

    -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1

    F

    D C B

    A

    A+F D

    C

    B A

    A+

    Math grade D

    Volume

    C om

    po si

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    -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1

    F D

    C B A A+

    F

    D C

    B

    A A+

    Math grade C

    Volume

    C om

    po si

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    -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1

    F DC

    B

    A

    A+

    F D

    C

    B

    A

    A+

    Math grade B

    Volume

    C om

    po si

    tio n

    -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1

    F DC B

    A

    A+

    F

    D

    C B

    A

    A+

    Math grade A

    Volume

    C om

    po si

    tio n

    -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1

    F D C B

    A

    A+

    F DC B

    A

    A+

    Math grade A+

    Volume C

    om po

    si tio

    n -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5

    -2 -1

    0 1 FD

    C B A

    A+ FD

    C B A A+

  • Summary: Cognitive map

    ♦Human capital skills differ by volume and composition

    ♦Numeric and linguistic skills are independent of each other

    ♦ In between are problem solving and computer skills

  • Correspondence between actual and perceived locations ♦There is a correspondence

    – It is not one-to-one ♦Teacher assessments are crucial ♦Language marks affect perception of

    volume and composition of skills for females, but only volume for males

    ♦Math marks affect both volume and composition for both genders

  • Gender and human capital skills

    ♦ Gender differences in perceived numeric skills are NOT due to: – Women being less likely to take math courses – Women taking less advanced math courses – Women getting lower marks in math courses

  • So why the gendered map?

    ♦Young women are superior in language ♦Young women differentiate between their

    various skills ♦There is a pervasive gender stereotype ♦Young women are more modest ♦Young women are somewhat less likely to

    discount a failing mark

  • Implications: That which is perceived as real is real in its consequences

    ♦Gender differences in post-secondary educational programs

    ♦Gender segregation of occupations ♦School counseling must be based on

    performance rather than perception ♦Occupational guidance should NOT be

    based on inventory of skills and aptitudes

  • Next steps

    ♦Use cycle 3 data to assess: – Educational pathways taken by young men and

    women • Are self-assessed skills independently related to the

    decision to pursue PSE?

    – Field of study chosen • Do the lower self-assessed quantitative skills

    translate into young women avoiding fields that require math skills?