Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Paulson, Patricia


Despite inclusion efforts for women to be equally represented across all disciplines and at all career levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), there remains a significant gap between males and females within the job market. The purpose of this cross-sectional, quantitative study was to examine how gender differences in mathematics and science are related to identity and self-efficacy and students’ comparison of STEM subject competency. The secondary focus was to investigate the influence that STEM self-efficacy and STEM identity have on enrolling in advanced STEM-related classes. This research used secondary data from the follow-up High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS:09) survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. Participants included 20,594 Grade 11 students from public, private, and charter schools from all over the United States. Results from this study demonstrated a statistically significant different between mathematics and science self-identity, self-efficacy, and gender ability perceptions and whether or not a student enrolled in an advanced STEM-related course. Findings from this study found that enrolling in an advanced STEM-related course had the greatest effect on a student’s self-identity. Female students who were enrolled in an advanced mathematics course were more likely to perceive male students as better in mathematics than females. In science, females who were enrolled in an advanced course were more likely to say males and females had equal science ability. Based on these findings, further research is needed to examine the relationship between STEM self-identity and enrolling in an advanced mathematics or advanced science course. Future research should also explore the relationship between female high school STEM self-identity and self-efficacy scores prior to, during, and following the participation in an advanced STEM-related class.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation