Gender differences in subject-specific academic performance predicted by self-efficacy and interests of 12th grade Indian students
While in the United States, more and more women are now entering the previously male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions, not much vocational research on women in STEM careers has been conducted in India, where the traditionally patrifocal culture typically affords limited career choices and educational opportunities to women. This study used structural equation modeling (SEM) to assess potential gender differences in subject-specific self-efficacy, interests and academic performance of 316 high school students from a large city in India. The influence of other contextual factors such as tracking and parental education was also examined. Results indicated definite gender differences in academic performance, self-efficacy and interests in various academic subjects. The female students in this sample show higher confidence and better performance (in all examined academic subjects) than their male counterparts. Significant differences between academic tracks in self-efficacy, interests and academic performance were also observed. The results of this study also emphasize the effects of tracking of the students into specific educational paths on their academic achievement. Implications for counseling with Asian Indian high school students and future research directions are discussed.