Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Catherine Miller


Mathematical ability; Sex differences; College students--Iowa--Cedar Falls--Attitudes;


One of the main questions to be answered addressed by this research follows, is do more female or more male UNI students believe they are bad at mathematics? Students at UNI are of the population interest for this study because if there exists a gender gap in mathematics locally, it can be made a priority for UNI's campus. Research was not found pertaining to gender disparities in Iowa. If there is a gender gap favoring males’ self-perceptions of mathematical abilities locally, closing the gap may be a priority for local teachers. If there is no gender gap, it might be helpful to know what has been done to create these circumstances so others can use these strategies.

Another question to be addressed by this thesis is what factors influence or do not influence UNI students’ beliefs about their own mathematical abilities? The answer to this question goes beyond identifying self-perceptions of mathematical abilities and relating to other factors such as gender, race/culture, or choice of major. The answers to this question can suggest why students have these perceptions of themselves. This will help identify what to focus on when addressing self-perception of mathematical ability related gender disparities in mathematics, or successful strategies that have worked in closing the gender gap.

The last research question for this study is what can secondary mathematics teachers do in their classroom to support gender equity and positively influence students' self-beliefs of abilities? It may be helpful to reevaluate teaching practices that advantage or disadvantage groups of students based on their gender. To help me answer this question, I am fortunate enough to attend a university that is filled with pre-service teachers and professionals who have studied various educational and instruction techniques. It will benefit my research results to analyze the responses from participants in the College of Education, since they will most likely be familiar with teacher practices and actions.

Date of Award



Department of Mathematics

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (45 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download