Scientia 2006: Elizabeth Ann-Vicotria Dittrick

Elizabeth Ann-Vicotria Dittrick is receiving Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Mathematics/Secondary Education with a minor in History. After her graduation, Elizabeth plans to find a job teaching math in a middle or high school and pursue a master’s degree. Elizabeth chose to pursue a citation in honors to broaden her horizons and challenge herself to learn more. She enjoyed the small class sizes and the one-on-one work with faculty members who kept encouraging her to go above and beyond what she knew was possible. Elizabeth’s honors work would not have been possible without the support of her family and friends. Her parents and brother always had loving, encouraging words and knew that she could do it. She would also like to thank Sr. Gail Cabral, her thesis advisor, who helped her research in a new area of academics, Sr. Robert Ann von Ahnen, her reader and advisor who opened the door to the honor’s program, Christina Elvidge who guided her on the road to writing the thesis, and Dr. Craig Johnson who was a great support in the area of mathematics.

Gender Attitudes Toward Mathematics Differences: Real or Fictitious

Director: Sr. Gail Cabral, I.H.M.
Reader: Sr. Robert von Ahnen


Over the years, ideas have persisted that females are less competent in mathematics than are males. This purported inability has been attributed to women’s biological makeup (Summers 2005). On the other hand, if stereotypes persist about women’s relative lack of competence, the presence of the belief will itself contribute to different socialization patterns.

The present study investigated whether or not males and females believed different things about their respective ability to do mathematics. The study consisted of analyzing scores on the Attitudes Towards Mathematics Scale developed by Fennema and Sherman. Students from two private Catholic single-sex schools in northern New Jersey (one, all female school, and one, all male) participated. The students in grades nine through twelve were asked to fill out a survey with different subscales, including a Confidence in Learning Mathematics Scale and a Mathematics as a Male Domain Scale. The scores were calculated and the means were compared by t-tests.

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