Girls can do math just fine, thank you
Randie Benedict – Post-Gazette – Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Last month, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin released a powerful study titled “Exploring Bias in Math Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Ability by Gender and Race/Ethnicity.” Utilizing data from the National Center of Education Statistics, researchers focused on math grades and standardized test scores of 15,000 10th-graders from across the country, as well as survey results from their math teachers. The teachers were asked to rate the level of difficulty in their math classes as too easy, appropriate or too difficult.
The study found that, in spite of standardized test scores and class grades to the contrary, high school math teachers consistently overrated the math abilities of white males while consistently underrating the ability of white girls and minority students of both genders. These findings held even after the study’s authors accounted for race, whether the students went to a private or public school, income and education level, geographic region and urbanicity of a school.
The teachers in this study were not new teachers: most had 15 years of experience. Ironically, 55 percent of the students were taught by female math teachers . . .
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