Research to Practice Summaries
This clearinghouse of research related summaries aims to help practitioners quickly and easily translate research into practice. Check back often for more updates! Follow us on Twitter (@stemefg) to get notifications of new posts!
Sonnert and Sadler (School Science and Mathematics, March 2013, Vol. 113(3), pp. 135-143) investigated the role that gender played in students' participation, choice of scientific field, and award of prizes in the 2009 Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair. They found that girls and boys were equally like to receive an award. Females made up 62% of all participants, though they were more likely to enter projects in biology or earth, space, or environmental sciences. Males were more heavily represented in engineering. For girls, the gender of an inspiring teacher did not impact their likelihood of winning an award.
McCulloch, Keene, and Kenney (School Science and Mathematics, April 2013, Vol. 113(4), pp. 201-210) show that when faced with a disagreement between a graphing calculator produced solution and a solution created by hand, that over half of the students choose the graphing calculator situation. This finding was attributed to students' lack of confidence in the mathematical abilities and/or their overconfidence in the 'infallibility of the graphing calculator'. These finds are consistent with earlier findings indicating the students' view of the graphing calculator as the 'master'. Teachers must be aware of this issue of mathematical authority and deal with it proactively in their classrooms.
Drexler, P. (Wall Street Journal, March 2-3, 2013) shows that 80% of bullying by female bosses is directed at other women through the "Queen Bee Syndrome", a term coined in the 1970s, that refers to women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. Drexler writes, "Until top leadership positions are as routinely available to women as they are to men, freezing out the competitions will remain a viable survival strategy." This research points to the need for further educating girls and young women about this syndrome and how and why to combat it.
Min, et. al, (Journal of Engineering Education, April 2011, Vol. 100, pp.349-373) show that females have a higher risk of leaving engineering in semesters 3 through 5 than males, while the risk is similar in other semesters. This result implies that university programs and K-12 alumna programs should be sure to support women in these years in particular, not just during the first year.
Fantz, et. al, (Journal of Engineering Education, July 2011, Vol. 100, pp.604-623) found that students who participated in a technology education classes and pre-engineering classes had a significantly higher level of self-efficacy. Higher self efficacy leads to better performance and persistence in engineering. Gender effects were not analyzed in this study. Could this result be motivation to offer more semester- and year-long courses in technology and engineering at the K-12 level?
Zeldin and Pajares (American Educational Research Journal, Spring 2000, Vol. 37, pp. 215-246) found that females develop their self-efficacy in mathematics, science, and technology from verbal persuasions and vicarious experiences. How do we use this finding to support our females? Help girls to have vicarious experiences in your classroom!