The academic achievement and self-concept of adolescent female gifted students

Theresa Alponat Muckleroy, Tennessee State University


Sexism and discrimination, both external and internal, have been shown to destroy the confidence and self-concept of adolescent gifted females. This research explored the underachievement of gifted females. The purpose of this study was to analyze the achievement scores, grades, and self-concept of gifted students for differences between females and males and to observe relationships between self-concept and achievement and/or grades. Additionally, the achievement scores and grades of the female students were examined to note any differences from elementary through middle school grades. The sample included 248 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade male and female students enrolled in gifted programs in six middle schools. Terra Nova NCE achievement scores, yearly grade averages, and self-concept scores obtained from The Multidimensional Self-Concept Scale (Bracken, 1992) was used to examine the hypotheses. Female students had statistically higher yearly averages, eighth grade reading achievement scores, and language and total battery achievement scores. Females and males had statistically similar math achievement scores, while male students exhibited statistically higher science and social studies achievement scores. There were no significant differences in any of the six self-concept categories measured between the genders. There was a significant relationship between student self-concept and yearly grade averages. However, none were found between student self-concept and achievement scores. There were no statistically significant differences from elementary to middle school in the Terra Nova NCE achievement scores of gifted female students; however, yearly grade averages significantly increased from third to fourth grade and decreased from fifth to sixth grade. Research clearly establishes the need for eliminating gender bias. The question is: Does it still exist to the extent and severity in America that it did in the past? The present study provided evidence that it does not. Both gifted boys and gifted girls are faced with obstacles against achieving success, which come from both the pressures within themselves and the external cultural barriers about masculinity and femininity. Hence, this study recommends that educational systems develop strategies for reaching both males and females in ways to continue to lessen any disparity between the sexes.

Subject Area

School administration|Special education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Theresa Alponat Muckleroy, "The academic achievement and self-concept of adolescent female gifted students" (2004). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3158443.