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Open Access Girls in the UK have similar reasons to boys for intending to study mathematics post-16 thanks to the support and encouragement they receive

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This paper focuses on the aspirations of 13- and 15-year-olds to continue with mathematics after the age of 16 and the association with perceptions of their mathematics education during the academic year 2008/9. A quantitative analysis was undertaken on the views of 12,176 UK students, obtained through surveys, with qualitative case studies on two of these students lending support to the quantitative findings. This paper also places a focus on a sub-set of 1,476 London students. The analysis indicates that girls and boys with high mathematics aspirations had similar responses towards their mathematics teachers and lessons, and had comparable extrinsic mathematics motivation. However, girls, regardless of mathematics aspirations, were less likely than boys to be encouraged by their families and others within their social circles to study mathematics post-16. Many of the London findings are similar to those we found across the UK, although girls within London schools with high mathematics aspirations perceived their mathematics education to be more equitable. Low aspiring girls across the UK and in London still reported less support and encouragement, and described their mathematics education less favourably than did boys.

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Keywords: ASPIRATIONS; GENDER; MATHEMATICS; MOTIVATION; PERCEPTIONS; PSYCHOLOGY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 15, 2016

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  • The London Review of Education is now published by UCL Press. New issues and all the back content shown here are available through ScienceOpen and accessed from the journal's page at UCL Press www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/london-review-of-education. Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

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