Date of Award
Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
Education and Human Development
Research into academic gaps between male and female students in math and science areas show male students outperform females. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of gender stereotypes as they relate to male and female academic achievement levels in mathematics and science. The two-fold objectives for the project include: determining how gender biases and stereotypes affect female performance in the class setting and on standardized testing; implementing strategies that increase female academic achievement in typically male dominated subject areas. This thesis project examines the trends for male and female success rates on standardized and teacher generated tests. It investigates the historical perception that gender assigns inherent giftedness to boys in math related subjects. It further discusses influence, through family and societal stereotypes, that perpetuate the thought that math-related fields are purely a male domain.
The research study was conducted in a sixth grade classroom in an urban setting. The math instruction time was one hour and 15 minutes every day during the month long project. The research group of 23 students was divided up by gender, twelve boys and eleven girls. The student population was almost entirely a lower economic class, diverse in ethnicity, and included several students with special needs. Single sex work groups were developed and maintained to allow a more comfortable environment and gender specific lessons developed for this project. Research data included pre-testing to assess academic level, post-tests to highlight any changes in achievement, classroom observation, and parent and student surveys. Conclusions from the data analysis support the projects intent, that an emphasis on gender equity in teaching mathematics can change and increase female student achievement and self -esteem.
Frenzel, Mark W., "Reducing Gender Stereotypes in Mathematics" (2008). Education and Human Development Master's Theses. 234.