Despite advancement toward gender equity, few women enter the male-dominated fields of science and technology, and few men venture into traditionally female professions, such as nursing or early childhood education. This study was an examination of the contribution of gender to the academic self-perceptions of ability and related coursework plans for high school and college across academically advanced students. Participants were academically advanced students (N = 447) from grades 5 to 12. Findings revealed that girls’ self-perceptions of ability scores were higher than boys’ scores in the area of humanities, boys planned to take more math courses than girls, and academically advanced students’ self-perceptions of ability correlated with their future coursework plans. These findings have implications for practice and research in schools. The relationship between students’ self-perceptions of ability and their plans for future course taking points to the importance of encouraging exploration of a wide array of career trajectories so that students do not inadvertently build roadblocks to certain careers. Teachers and counselors should encourage students to make course plans based on interests and ideas for possible careers rather than based on what they believe to be appropriate for boys or girls. Findings point to future research that (a) examines why girls seem less interested in math/science coursework, (b) includes measures of academic ability to understand how academic skill relates to academic self-perceptions and coursework planning, and (c) investigates the role of gender stereotypes on academically advanced students’ career plans.
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