math

A new study by a research team that includes UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education Professor Marcia Linn assesses whether or not there is a significant difference between male and female math ability.

The first part of the study looked at math skills of about 1.3 million people while the second examined results of a few long-term studies. Both studies revealed that the difference between sexes was so close as to be meaningless.

Marcia Linn commented to the Graduate School of Education bulletin that the equality in math ability is widely accepted amongst education researches (well, duh, they’ve researched it) but still surprising to many teachers and parents. To be honest, it is probably still surprising to everyone who hasn’t researched it or read this article.

So why does the gulf between math-y boys vs. math-y girls still seem so big? A huge factor is stereotypes. Stereotypes are bad people. Except the stereotype that says stereotypes are bad. We’re confused … As we were saying, apparently stereotypes can influence performance.

If girls are expected to do worse in math classes then, oftentimes, they will. This phenomena is called “stereotype threat,” and is worse than deriving the derivative of inverse trig functions. No clue what that means, but maybe it’s because I’m a girl. See how easy it is to stereotype?

The good news is women have made significant advances in technical fields: half of medical school students are women as well as 48 percent of undergraduate math majors. The number of women in physics and engineering is still lacking though.

So ladies, if you’ve lost hope in trying out any math-related majors due to stereotyping and social pressures, don’t give up! Scientific research has your back.

Image Source: tkamenick under Creative Commons
Large study shows females the equal of males in math skills [UC Berkeley News]



Comments:
Sorry Ladies, No More Excuses About Being Bad At Math « : Crushable - Crushable gives you the celebrity news, style and scoop on the stuff you care about. said:
Oct 15, 2010 at 9:18 am

[...] on how to put on lipstick and be mean to each other where the math part aught to be. Unfortunately, a new study has revealed that the differences in men and women’s ability to do math is so small that it is basically [...]



Sorry Ladies, No More Excuses About Being Bad At Math - Gossip Girl Blog said:
Oct 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

[...] on how to put on lipstick and be mean to each other where the math part aught to be. Unfortunately, a new study has revealed that the differences in men and women’s ability to do math is so small that it is basically [...]



Dave said:
Oct 17, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Interesting article. Its fascinating how social context and environment can frame academic performance. Unfortunately, it is still not clear to researchers what the root causes are or how to effectively structure incentives to systematically fix the gender gap. Researchers still argue about the existence of a gender gap. Roland Fryer, a harvard economist studying gender, race, and inequality published an article in 2010, titled “An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics” with Steven Levitt finding evidence for a gender gap in mathematics the united states. Fryer uses a more recent data set, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort, which is a longitudinal study following children from kindergarden to the fifth grade. Contrary to Dr. Linn’s metastudy, the study does document a gender gap in mathematics over 6 years of schooling. It does not find evidence for biased testing, less investment by girls in math, low parental expectations as reasons for the gap.



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