Gendered Fields: Sports and Advanced Course Taking in High School

Pearson, Jennifer; Crissey, Sarah; Riegle-Crumb, Catherine
October 2009
Sex Roles;Oct2009, Vol. 61 Issue 7/8, p519
Academic Journal
This study explores the association between sports participation and course taking in high school, specifically comparing subjects with varied gendered legacies—science and foreign language. Analyses of a nationally representative longitudinal sample ( N = 5,447) of U.S. adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the linked Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement transcript study show that male and female athletes are more likely than non-athletes to take both advanced foreign language and Physics, largely because of their higher academic orientation. However, the association between sports participation and course taking was strongest for girls’ Physics coursework, suggesting that sports may provide girls with a unique opportunity to develop the skills and confidence to persevere in the masculine domain of science.


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