Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why Girls Suck At Math

A recent study shows why girls are not good at math.

The study of first- and second-graders says female elementary school teachers who are concerned about their own math skills could be passing that along to the little girls they teach

Young students tend to model themselves after adults of the same sex, and having a female teacher who is anxious about math may reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls, explained Sian L. Beilock, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Chicago.

Beilock and colleagues studied 52 boys and 65 girls who in classes taught by 17 different teachers. Ninety percent of U.S. elementary school teachers are women, as were all of those in this study. But by the end of the year, the more anxious teachers were about their own math skills, the more likely their female students -- but not the boys -- were to agree that "boys are good at math and girls are good at reading."

In addition, the girls who answered that way scored lower on math tests than either the classes' boys or the girls who had not developed a belief in the stereotype, the researchers found.

"It's actually surprising in a way, and not. People have had a hunch that teachers could impact the students in this way, but didn't know how it might do so in gender-specific fashion," Beilock said in a telephone interview.

After seeing the results, the researchers recommended that the math requirements for obtaining an elementary education teaching degree be rethought.

"If the next generation of teachers -- especially elementary school teachers -- is going to teach their students effectively, more care needs to be taken to develop both strong math skills and positive math attitudes in these educators," the researchers wrote.

Teacher math anxiety was measured on a 25-question test about situations that made them anxious, such as reading a cash register receipt or studying for a math test. A separate test checked the math skills of the teachers, who worked in a large Midwestern urban school district.

I trust that no matter who her teachers are Tall Olivia will be able to calculate batting averages with the best of them.

I suggest young girls should model themselves after Danica McKellar.


jleary said...

I guess your Most Favored Poophead Standings are as poorly calculated as the BCS...I figured a post about math was a good place for that comment

Girls is Dumb said...

Girls is Dumb

scat said...

If Tall Olivia averages 109500poops per year, how many per hour?

Paul said...

I certainly hope T.O. Doesn't poop 300 times a day.

RZR said...

Girls definitely do NOT suck at math. I feel very strongly about this for many different reasons which I won't go into.