Sunday, June 15, 2014

Who Is Better? Men or Women? (History of Math)

The answers in class to the question about if men or women are better in mathematics was interesting. I thought for sure many people would say men because that is the stereotype. When thinking about mathematics classes, I think about how many guys are in the classroom and how many women are in the class. Usually there are more men in the classroom and that shows you have more men go into this field or have mathematics as a major.

I knew that the typical stereotype is that men are better than women at mathematics, but after reading several articles this is something that has been proved wrong. A researcher and his colleagues at a University of Missouri wanted to attempt why there are more men than women in top level mathematic fields. The researchers found many studies that claimed "men are better at math"- believed to undermine women's math performance- had major methodological flaws, utilized improper statistical techniques, and many studies had no scientific evidence of this stereotype.

This stereotype was first published in 1999 in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. This is due to the stereotype that women are worse than men in math skills, females develop a poor self-image in this area, which leads to mathematics underachievement.

After reading several articles dealing with men and women and test scores, I have realized that this stereotype is not always true. Many studies stated that women scored better on test when guys weren't in the room. All the women test together and all the men test together. This seems to help the women and they score better than if they were taking the test with men.

There also was a study that stated in high school math classes the teachers weren't happy because many women weren't taking the higher math classes and only guys were. "Women perform as much as 12 percent better on math problems when tested in a setting without men, according to a study of Brown University undergraduates led by a graduate student of psychology".

I feel like this would be a great topic to come back to. There is so much information and studies that deal with this stereotype. It would be really cool to look at all the higher level math classes and look at how many men and women are in each one. We could also look at the grades that the men and women get in these classes. I would love to spend more time on this topic!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. 5Cs +

    I'd love to see you come back to the topic, too! Have you felt supported in our program? Or is there implicit bias we should address?