Many studies have already found differences between male and female students in various motivational variables. With regard to the stereotypes associated to different school subjects, boys usually are more motivated in math or sciences whereas girls score higher in verbal subjects such as languages. Studies investigating sex differences in achievement goals have yielded conflicting results. Furthermore, studies are rare that investigate sex differences in achievement goals in different domains. Therefore, we analyzed sex differences by focusing on achievement goals for school in general and six different school subjects (math, German, English, physics, history, chemistry). Two different samples of high school students were investigated in two studies (N1 = 425; N2 = 1210). As a prerequisite for examining latent mean differences, the measurement invariance of the questionnaire assessing achievement goals for males and females was supported in both studies. Girls showed significantly higher mastery goals in German and English, whereas boys revealed higher mastery goals in math and physics. Boys had significantly higher mean performance-approach goals in math, physics, history, and chemistry. Furthermore, boys had higher performance-avoidance goals in math and physics. They also showed significantly higher work-avoidance goals in German, English, and regarding school in general. These results were mainly in line with psychological models on the role of students’ gender-related identity. Students are particularly motivated in school subjects they perceive as stereotypically compatible with their own gender.
European Journal of Psychology of Education – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 17, 2020
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