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Measuring gender differences in cognitive functioning

Kevin Downing (City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Sui‐Wah Chan (City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Woo‐Kyung Downing (Institute of Textiles and Clothing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Theresa Kwong (City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Tsz‐Fung Lam (City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 11 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate relationships between gender, A‐level scores and scores on the learning and study strategies inventory (LASSI) of undergraduate students.

Design/methodology/approach

The participants for this study were selected at random from the overall LASSI sampling exercise and males and females were compared using the LASSI scales at a Hong Kong University.

Findings

Gender differences in cognitive functioning and achievement do not always favour one sex with the literature related to intelligence testing suggesting that males outperform females on tests of visuo‐spatial ability, and mathematical reasoning whereas females do better on tests involving memory and language use. This paper examines relationships between gender, A‐level scores and scores (LASSI) of undergraduate students and argues that whilst there are significant gender differences in A‐level scores, these provide limited practical information at a cognitive level. In contrast, the data from LASSI allows a more detailed and practical metacognitive analysis suggesting significant gender differences in certain areas of self‐perceived performance, with females demonstrating significantly higher levels of self‐regulation and a more positive attitude to academic study than their male counterparts.

Originality/value

The analysis of the data produced by the LASSI indicates that there are significant differences in self‐perceived metacognition between the genders.

Keywords

Citation

Downing, K., Chan, S., Downing, W., Kwong, T. and Lam, T. (2008), "Measuring gender differences in cognitive functioning", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 4-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/17504970810867124

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited