One Way to the Battle the Gender Gap in the Science Classroom

by Kelle on December 29, 2010

Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation | Science

In this randomized double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week course. Values affirmation reduced the male-female performance and learning difference substantially and elevated women’s modal grades from the C to B range. Benefits were strongest for women who tended to endorse the stereotype that men do better than women in physics. A brief psychological intervention may be a promising way to address the gender gap in science performance and learning.

15-minute writing exercise closes the gender gap in university-level physics | Not Exactly Rocket Science

…The physics course had already tried to introduce ways of reducing the gender gap, including extra tutorials. But all of these methods involved more of the same – more teaching, or more problems to solve. [The writing] exercise, by contrast, had nothing whatsoever to do with physics; it worked because it improved the environment in which women learn physics. Put it this way: if someone can’t hammer in a tricky nail, it might not be because their arm isn’t strong enough. It might be that they constantly have to look over their shoulders while they work.

I actually thought about doing something like this before my Astro 101 midterms…have the students take a minute to breath and repeat some positive affirmations to themselves. But I was too chicken to actually implement it. I did tell them about stereotype, however. Now with this, I think I’m propelled to go further.

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