FRESHMEN SEX ROLE SELF CONCEPT, ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND CAREER CHOICE
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The effects of sex role self concept on sex differences in reading, writing and mathematics achievement were investigated for 299 male and 101 female high school seniors about to enter their first semester at a large urban four-year public college. The effects of the interaction of achievement and sex role self concept on choice of college major were also investigated. The Bem Sex Role Inventory was administered and analyzed by the median-split method, thus classifying all students into one of the four sex role orientation categories of masculine-typed, feminine-typed, androgynous, and undifferentiated. Reading, writing and mathematics tests were administered to all students as part of their college entrance requirements, and scores from these tests were used as the measure of achievement in these areas. The extent of students' high school mathematics background was analyzed and used as a covariate in analyses involving mathematics achievement. Results indicated significant sex and sex role differences in achievement, career choice, and mathematics background. In general, results reflected expectations based on societal sex role stereotypes of achievement and career pursuits. That is, males performed better in mathematics and females performed better in writing. This was further reflected in career choice with males significantly over-selecting college majors which required mathematics background. In addition, sex role self concept was found to be a contributing factor to the sex differences obtained in the present study, such that for both sexes, students with high masculinity scores performed better in mathematics achievement and students with high femininity scores performed better in writing achievement. Contrary to expectations, males performed better than females in reading achievement, and for both sexes, students with high masculinity scores performed better than students with low masculinity scores in reading achievement. In terms of female mathematics performance, the notion of possible gender sex vs. psychological sex role conflict was presented and discussed. Results were discussed in terms of socialization practices inhibiting mathematics achievement in females and the implications of this for career opportunities.
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