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Exploring gender differences in literacy and mathematical understandings in the early years of school: Can differences be explained by behaviours in the classroom?

Walker, Sue & Berthelsen, Donna C. (2007) Exploring gender differences in literacy and mathematical understandings in the early years of school: Can differences be explained by behaviours in the classroom? In 2007 Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Research Conference, December, 2007, Melbourne. (Unpublished)

Abstract

Gender differences in children’s early learning competence have been examined primarily through cross-sectional studies. Explanations for girls’ apparent advantage include earlier physical maturation and different social expectations placed on girls and boys from an early age. In analyses presented in this paper, differences in classroom behaviours (e.g., attentiveness and task persistence) are hypothesised as explaining gender differences in early academic outcomes. Data are drawn from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian children (LSAC). LSAC is a cross-sequential cohort study funded by the Australian Government. Biennial data collection has been funded from 2004 (Wave 1) to 2010 (Wave 4). In these analyses, Wave 1 (2004) and Wave 2 (2006) data for 4464 children in the Kindergarten Cohort are used. Children, at Wave 2, were in the early years of formal school. They had a mean age of 6.8 years (SD= 0.24). Teachers rated children’s literacy and mathematical understandings on academic rating scales for literacy and language competence and mathematical thinking. Measures of classroom behaviour included a 6-item measure of approaches to learning and teaching ratings on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Regression analyses take account of children’s receptive language competence and emergent literacy skills at age 4 (LSAC Wave 1 data). Girls were found to have better learning outcomes, in particular, literacy and language outcomes that were significantly related to more positive classroom behaviours. Results are discussed with respect to the influence of children’s early classroom behaviours on academic learning at the beginning of formal schooling.

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ID Code: 12978
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional URLs:
Keywords: transition to school, gender differences, early learning competence
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:57

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