The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #7/2012

Gifted girls and non-mathematical aspirations: A longitudinal case study of two gifted Korean girls

Kyeonghwa Lee
Seoul National University

Bharath Sriraman
University of Montana

Abstract

In this longitudinal study of two gifted Korean girls, experiences with early admittance into a gifted program are charted alongside their family and societal experiences which ultimately influenced their career choices in non-mathematical fields. The 8-year long qualitative study involved extensive interviews with the two gifted girls and their parents to determine factors that led to their choice of a non mathematical area of specialization in spite of early identification and support of their mathematical talent. Using tenets of qualitative inquiry to code the longitudinal data, we identified three main factors that contributed to these career choices, which are presented in the form of narratives. One of the startling findings of this study, contrary to the literature in gifted education research, is that the two girls' early experiences with gifted education kept them from choosing careers related to mathematics. The article also narrates the enculturation of mathematically girls in Korea which leads to non-mathematical career aspirations.

Keywords: career aspirations; early identification; enculturation; gender inequalities; gifted education, Korea, mathematics, self-concept.

AMS Subject Classification: 97

SAGE Pre-print of second revision (338 KB) to Technical Report available at #10/2011