Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gender, Culture and Math

How do gender, culture and use of mathematical procedures interact.  Interesting that there are differences within the United States sample.  Overall the authors claim that differences are not as pronounced as thought, but we know from recent performance data that math achievement gaps between males and females are small.  The key not is to find out why we are losing females from pursuing higher level math classes and from performance in upper level math classes.  I suspect it has to do with "connection."
 From the abstract: 
This study examined the gender differences of U.S. and Chinese students in their solution processes of solving routine and nonroutine mathematical problems. Results of the study showed that overall there were statistically significant gender differences (favoring males) on both routine and nonroutine problem solving for the U.S. sample, but not for the Chinese sample. However, examinations of students' component processes (translation, integration, planning, and execution) for solving routine problems revealed that significant gender differences only exist for the execution component (computation skills) for the U.S. sample. A more elaborate qualitative analysis of student responses to nonroutine problems showed that male and female students exhibit many similarities in their solution processes of solving nonroutine problems. The present study suggests gender differences in solution processes for solving routine and nonroutine mathematical problems are not as pronounced as were found in previous research.

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