Gender differences in motivations for course selection: Academically talented students in an intensive summer program


Journal Article

This study examines the motivational factors contributing to course selection in a sample of students enrolled in an intensive three-week academic experience for exceptionally talented adolescents. Our sample included 947 gifted adolescents, of whom 3.7% were Black, 73.5% were White, 2.2% Hispanic, 0.1% Native American, 19.8% Asian, and 0.6% categorized themselves as "other." Girls and boys selected different types of classes, with course participation falling along traditional gender-stereotyped lines. Boys and girls both performed exceptionally well, and said they chose their course because the subject was interesting, useful for future goals, and challenging. Females more often than males enrolled in classes because they perceived them as challenging, different from usual, not offered at school, and as making them more well-rounded. Males more often than females tended to select classes because they thought they would do well and/or because they viewed these classes as being useful for future schooling or career. However, these gender differences varied by the type of course the students took. The resulting complex picture of students' motivations is discussed in terms of the need to specify both the contexts in which males and females make their academic choices, and the interactive determinants of their motivations. © 1994 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Wilson, JS; Stocking, VB; Goldstein, D

Published Date

  • September 1, 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 349 - 367

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2762

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-0025

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/BF01544594

Citation Source

  • Scopus