Term of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Gregory Chamblee

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Sharon Taylor

Committee Member 3

Cordelia Zinskie

Committee Member 3 Email



This qualitative study explores how fourth-grade girls at a high-achieving elementary school construct their mathematics self-beliefs by describing participants’ sources of mathematics self-efficacy experiences, perceptions of mathematical gender stereotypes, and social influences on mathematics and gender beliefs. Qualitative and quantitative methods are guided by a feminist constructivist perspective, including a focus group interview, individual interviews, and a mathematics self-efficacy scale. Major findings are that the participants have high mathematics self-efficacy and feel most confident in their task-specific mathematics abilities. Other findings are that mastery experiences are primarily positive and informed by practicing, grades, pacing, and nonstandard ways of math engagement; vicarious experiences are positive and verbal experiences shared are limited. Finally, for the participants, physiological experiences include feeling nervous, interpreted as a positive/energizing factor; they do not view mathematics as a male domain; they are encouraged to adhere to traditional rule-following “good girl” behavior in mathematics, and their mothers are highly involved and model positive mathematics engagement.

The combination of constructivist and feminist theories informing this study provides an analysis that adds to feminist work, capturing girls’ experiences and voices. Practitioners will have a better understanding of girls’ mathematics self-beliefs and the need for more feminist constructivist practices, including shared classroom authority, collaboration, and emphasis on the development of girls’ mathematical voices and personal construction of mathematics.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material