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November 2021

What am I best at? Grade and gender differences in children's beliefs about ability improvement

Author(s): Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Blumenfeld, P., Arbreton, A., Harold, R. D.

Journal/Book: J Applied Dev Psychology. 2000; 21: 655 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10010, USA. Elsevier Science Inc. 379-402.

Abstract: The authors assessed age and gender variations in children's beliefs regarding the kinds of activities (academics, sports, music and arts) at which they thought they were best and worst. Children also reported the extent to which they thought they could improve their abilities in these different activities. The authors interviewed 865 first-, second-, and fourth-grade children individually. Children in all three grades were very optimistic that increased effort and better strategy use could improve their ability to perform different activities, particularly academic and sports activities. However, by fourth grade, an increasing number of children began to doubt whether they could improve enough to become best at their current worst activity. There were gender stereotypic differences in children's beliefs about their abilities. The implications of these findings for teachers and parents and for children's future activity choice are discussed.

Note: Article Freedman-Doan C, Eastern Michigan Univ, 531 Mark Jefferson Bldg, Ypsilanti,MI 48197 USA

Keyword(s): ELEMENTARY-SCHOOL YEARS; ACHIEVEMENT-MOTIVATION; MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS; TASK VALUES; SELF; PERFORMANCE; COMPETENCE; CONCEPTIONS; AGE


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