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Gender Differences in Mathematical Competition Performance for Grade 4 Pupils in Latvia

Maruta Avotiņa1, Guna Brenda Pogule1, Ingrīda Veilande2
1 University of Latvia, Latvia, Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometry
2 Riga Technical University Latvian Maritime Academy, Latvia

Abstract. There are stereotypes that boys are better than girls at mathematics and other STEM subjects. For example, at the International Mathematical Olympiad, most of the participants are boys, and only some girls qualify for the competition. However, a team (6 secondary school pupils) from Latvia, unlike other countries, almost every year contains a girl participant in this prestigious olympiad. Special competitions and olympiads for girls are organized. The goal is to increase their interest and confidence in mathematics, like the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.
To determine whether there are gender differences in Latvia for the primary school pupils in the mathematical problem solving we analyse data obtained in a school year 2021/2022 in the national level mathematical competition “This much or… How much?” in which participated about 3200 pupils from various schools in Latvia. Pupils solved problems ranging in difficulty from multiple choice questions and standard computation tasks to non-standard problems that requires explanations and creative thinking. The main objective of this study is to determine if there are any gender differences in mathematical competition for Grade 4 pupils. In the paper we analyse pupils works and solutions according to mathematical skills necessary in the tasks to find out whether there are gender differences in solving different tasks and what are the strength for each gender. The obtained results could be useful for math teachers so they can differentiate the teaching process and improve each pupil’s performance in mathematics, as well as rise pupils interest using non-standard tasks.

Keywords: mathematics for Grade 4, mathematical olympiad, gender differences in mathematics, mathematical skills, olympiad results

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6