Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Study on Gender Gap in Math - it doesn't exist

The new study from University of Wisconsin looks at international data and claims,

"In summary, we conclude that gender equity and other sociocultural factors, not national income, school type, or religion per se, are the primary determinants of mathematics performance at all levels for both boys and girls. Our findings are consistent with the gender stratified hypothesis, but not with the greater male variability, gap due to inequity, single-gender classroom, or Muslim culture hypotheses."

It is important to look at their breakdown of data, it is extensive. It does discuss the status of gender gap within the United States and links it to the lacks of overall gender equality.

Now, if someone would do this type of study with international reading scores.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Differences in Brain Volume Affect Spatial Ability

A new study that claims that the different brain volume of males and females benefits males spatial ability. This might have to do with geometry? If you are a math teacher or someone doing research, this could be an up to date article to talk about.

Differences in Higher Ed Achievement

A working report on differences in higher education achievement favoring women. The authors state that the surprising information was that the gap was in all sub groups.

Could this be a result of a growing gender achievement gap in K 12 education?

Recognizing and acknowledging that there is an issue worth considering is a start. Then, getting teachers to talk about and examine what happens in the classroom is next. Then agreeing to implement some strategies and documenting their impact with gendered subgroups would be next.

It doesn't have to be stereotyping, just looking at quality teaching and how it affects groups.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gender Differences in Heart Disease

USA Today reports a study that shows that There are differences in heart related diseases. It seems to be broadly accepted and will be used to prescribe appropriate tests for men and women. Seems like differentiation to me.

Small Study from Africa on Second Language Acquisition and Gender Differences

An interesting study from South Africa that shows that girls out performed boys, on average, on second language acquisition, but that the difference was not statistically significant.  It goes on to say that boys and girls should be no differentiation in the ways boys and girls are taught.
It is good to see articles and research from multiple areas around the world.  No one study though should sway someone one way or another, as educators we need to consider multiple perspectives.
As for me, the higher scores of girls may not be significant, but need to be considered.  Differentiation is not just gender-based, but something based on the students that are in your classroom.  One must see, really see, the students that we teach and bring content and skills to them that matter or present in a way that matter.
For example, today, I was teaching about South Carolina and their participation in the Continental Congress.  Five, wealthy, white, men from the low country (along the coast) who, for the most part, did not want independence from Britain.  As I mentioned earlier, most of my classes, have 66% - 75% females and 90% Hispanic and African-American.  I had to draw out the background of those men going to the Constitutional Congress and the difficulty that was eventually faced as history unfolded.  Further, impressing upon them, and opening up a discussion, on taking advantage of opportunities that they have now ... even considering what might have been the case if the background of the participants were different.

Gender Based Data in Canada

An article that looks at the decline of the performance of boys in math and science in Canada.  From the article:

Boys have fallen behind in science and lost their long-held dominance in math, and though the results are a Canadian first, the problem may be a familiar one: reading.
Reading has been a weak spot for boys for decades. The latest national standardized test results show the gap between girls and boys in reading is growing, and that it is spreading to math and science.
This issues seems to have a gendered layer to it.  No, it isn't just a single-gender issue, but, yes, single-gender classes could be part of a potential solution.  But a greater understanding of how to make reading engaging and important to boys is important.  But, for some reason, we just aren't concerned to the degree to really engage people in this conversation yet.

What have you done to bring this issue forward in your local setting?