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Education capability: a focus on gender and science

Tindara Addabbo (), Maria Di Tommaso () and Anna Maccagnan ()
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Anna Maccagnan: University of Turin, http://www.est.unito.it/

Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers from University of Turin

Abstract: The focus of the paper is on the measurement of science education capability with a gender perspective. Measuring science education capability implies going beyond the measurement of children test scores. In the capability approach, we aim at the real opportunities that children can develop later in life and therefore it is important to include some measures of non-cognitive skills. We utilize, therefore, different indicators in addition to test scores in science: enjoyment in science, interest in science, general and personal values of science, self - confidence in performing science related tasks, awareness and perception of environmental issues, and responsibility for sustainable development. We utilize the 2006 PISA survey for Italian 15 year old children because it contains a particular focus on science and we estimate a Structural Equation Model to take into account that capabilities are latent constructs of which we only observe some indicators. We also investigate the determinants of children’s science education capability in Italy taking into account household, individual and school factors. Results confirm that boys outperform girls in science education capability. Our theoretical construct for the science education capability confirms that all the indicators are relevant to measure this capability. School activities to promote sciences improve girls’ capability and interactive methods of teaching improve both girls and boys capability. The household educational resources and the household educational possession are also positively correlated with girls’ and boys’ science education capability.

Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2014-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-edu and nep-eur
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