Changing Gears: Modeling Gender Differences in Performance on Tests of Mechanical Comprehension

Changing Gears: Modeling Gender Differences in Performance on Tests of Mechanical Comprehension

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For over 60 years, the selection, training and vocational coaching assessments of individuals in mechanically-inclined occupations has often involved the administration of mechanical ability tests. However, men have consistently outperformed women on such tests, creating the possibility for unfair hiring or human resource practices in these situations. Unfortunately, the causes of these achievement differences are still largely unknown. As such, this study proposes and examines a functional gender differences model that examines predictors of mechanical ability test performance beyond gender that could potentially be leveraged to diminish the substantial performance differences found in mechanical and other similarly gender-biased cognitive ability tests. Specifically, the model investigates one's gender role identification, gender stereotype endorsement, mechanical interests/experiences, and mechanical self-efficacy as influences of mechanical comprehension. The results of the study revealed that, even when controlling for gender, an individual's self-efficacy for accomplishing mechanically-related activities was strongly and positively related to test performance; furthermore, self-efficacy was predicted by one's mechanical interests and experiences, which were meaningfully related to gender role identification. Practical implications and limitations of the model's results in terms of capturing gender differences in cognitive ability tests and topics for future related research are discussed.assessed with scores on the Differential Aptitudes Space Relations Test. ... preferred to be boys substantially outperformed sixth- and ninth-grade girls who preferred to be girls on the spatial ability test. ... Nasha#39;s study holds importance for the present research question, as mechanical comprehension has long been knownanbsp;...


Title:Changing Gears: Modeling Gender Differences in Performance on Tests of Mechanical Comprehension
Author: James A. Grand
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008
ISBN-13:

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