Tag Archives: Gender Gap

University of Minnesota study: Study: High-stakes tests a likely factor in STEM performance gap

30 Dec

Many girls and women who have the math and science aptitude for a science career don’t enter scientific fields. Cheryl B. Schrader writes in the St Louis Post-Dispatch article, STEM education: Where the girls are not:

Compounding this issue, the gender gap in these fields is widening.
The Jan. 30 report from STEMconnector and My College Options — titled “Where Are the STEM Students?” — underscores the importance of these fields for our nation’s future economic well-being. It also presents a challenge for all of us in education, from kindergarten through college, to increase interest levels in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the so-called STEM fields — for all types of students.
While the majority of U.S. college students today are female, they remain a minority in many science and engineering fields. If universities are to meet the future demands of our economy, we can’t leave half of the college-bound population on the sidelines.
How can we change that? The STEMconnector report offers some hints.
Female high school students who are interested in these fields often gravitate toward biology, chemistry, marine biology and science — areas often associated with a desire to make the world a better place. Women tend to be drawn to these service-oriented professions.
But thanks to the rise of cloud computing, information systems and the app economy, 71 percent of the new STEM jobs in 2018 are projected to be in the computing fields. Getting girls interested in these fields at a young age will be critical if we are to meet the coming demand for talented and well-educated computer scientists, computer engineers and game designers.
With this in mind, it’s important to convey to young women computing’s role in serving society. We should show a young woman how a computer science degree could equip her to design a new app to diagnose illness. That may appeal more to her desire to help others than, say, showing her how to write code for yet another online game.
Programs like Project Lead the Way, which introduces middle school and high school students to engineering and science, help students learn more about these fields at an early age. In Missouri, 165 high schools and middle schools are using PLTW’s engineering and biomedical sciences materials to generate more interest in those areas. http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/stem-education-where-the-girls-are-not/article_ae33c7b7-6a7b-5011-8d2a-138bc1538357.html

See, STEM Connector http://store.stemconnector.org/Where-Are-the-STEM-Students_p_9.html

Science Daily reported in Study: High-stakes tests a likely factor in STEM performance gap:

Male students tend to do better on high-stakes tests in biology courses, but it’s not because they are better students. Gaps in performance change based on the stakes of the test. A new study published in PLOS ONE confirms this, finding that performance gaps between male and female students increased or decreased based on whether instructors emphasized or de-emphasized the value of exams.
Sehoya Cotner, associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, and Cissy Ballen, a postdoctoral associate in Cotner’s lab, base their findings on a year-long study of students in nine introductory biology courses. They found that female students did not underperform in courses where exams count for less than half of the total course grade. In a separate study, instructors changed the curriculum in three different courses to place higher or lesser value on high-stakes exams (e.g., midterms and finals) and observed gender-biased patterns in performance.
“When the value of exams is changed, performance gaps increase or decrease accordingly,” says Cotner.
These findings build on recent research by Cotner and Ballen that showed that on average, women’s exam performance is adversely affected by test anxiety. By moving to a “mixed model” of student assessment — including lower-stakes exams, as well as quizzes and other assignments — instructors can decrease well established performance gaps between male and female students in science courses….
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171228170646.htm

Citation:

Study: High-stakes tests a likely factor in STEM performance gap
Findings suggest that changing how instructors assess students could help close the achievement gap in introductory STEM courses
Date: December 28, 2017
Source: University of Minnesota
Summary:
ale students tend to do better on high-stakes tests in biology courses, but it’s not because they are better students. Gaps in performance change based on the stakes of the test. A new study confirms this, finding that performance gaps between male and female students increased or decreased based on whether instructors emphasized or de-emphasized the value of exams.

Journal Reference:
1. Sehoya Cotner, Cissy J. Ballen. Can mixed assessment methods make biology classes more equitable? PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (12): e0189610 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0189610

Here is the press release from the University of Minnesota:

Study: High-stakes tests a likely factor in STEM performance gap
December 27, 2017
Contacts
Male students tend to do better on high-stakes tests in biology courses, but it’s not because they are better students. Gaps in performance change based on the stakes of the test. A new study published in PLOS ONE confirms this, finding that performance gaps between male and female students increased or decreased based on whether instructors emphasized or de-emphasized the value of exams.
Sehoya Cotner, associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, and Cissy Ballen, a postdoctoral associate in Cotner’s lab, base their findings on a year-long study of students in nine introductory biology courses. They found that female students did not underperform in courses where exams count for less than half of the total course grade. In a separate study, instructors changed the curriculum in three different courses to place higher or lesser value on high-stakes exams (e.g., midterms and finals) and observed gender-biased patterns in performance.
“When the value of exams is changed, performance gaps increase or decrease accordingly,” says Cotner.
These findings build on recent research by Cotner and Ballen that showed that on average, women’s exam performance is adversely affected by test anxiety. By moving to a “mixed model” of student assessment — including lower-stakes exams, as well as quizzes and other assignments — instructors can decrease well established performance gaps between male and female students in science courses.
“This is not simply due to a ‘watering down’ of poor performance through the use of easy points,” says Cotner. “Rather, on the exams themselves, women perform on par with men when the stakes are not so high.”
The researchers point to these varied assessments as a potential reason why the active-learning approach, which shifts the focus away from lectures and lecture halls to more collaborative spaces and group-based work, appears to decrease the performance gap between students.
“As people transition to active learning, they tend to incorporate a diversity of low-stakes, formative assessments into their courses,” Cotner says. “We think that it is this use of mixed assessment that advantages students who are otherwise underserved in the large introductory science courses.”
Cotner and Ballen also see their findings as a potential to reframe gaps in student performance.
“Many barriers students face can be mitigated by instructional choices,” says Cotner. “We conclude by challenging the student deficit model, and suggest a course deficit model as explanatory of these performance gaps, whereby the microclimate of the classroom can either raise or lower barriers to success for underrepresented groups in STEM.”

The University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences seeks to improve human welfare and global conditions by advancing knowledge of the mechanisms of life and preparing students to create the biology of tomorrow. Learn more at cbs.umn.edu.

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein. https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/31/study-elementary-school-teachers-have-an-impact-on-girls-math-learning/

Related:

Girls and math phobia
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning? https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

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Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative

6 Jul

Moi wrote in The teaching profession needs more males and teachers of color:

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.

Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress….

In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/few-minority-teachers-in-_n_1089020.html?ref=email_share

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce

The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):

·         In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.

·         According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.

·         Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff….

The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that

o    Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.

o    Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.

o    Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.

Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents. http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=6240&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CAT=none

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/the-teaching-profession-needs-more-males-and-teachers-of-color/

There is an argument about the state of boys of color in this society. Many say the objective observable evidence points to a crisis.

Moi supports the Boys Initiative. Here is information about the Boys Initiative:

An increasing number of our boys and young men are not achieving to their full potential. The problem affects all of our boys and young men, regardless of race or ethnicity. While the problem is far more significant and chronic among minority youth, achievement also eludes white young men.

Besides young men themselves, this trend impacts their potential life partners, our communities, and our nation. The US and the world are becoming increasingly economically competitive. For the success of our society as well as our young men it is therefore essential that we begin to address this issue in a meaningful way. 

We launched The Boys Initiative to tackle this important issue. Because young men start out as boys, the Initiative is a national campaign to shed light on both boys’ underachievement and young men’s FAILURE TO LAUNCH.

The MISSION of the Initiative is to serve as a BIG TENT, to shed light on these trends, to foster dialogue and debate about them, and to collaborate on solutions with those who are committed to the futures of our nation’s youth.

Our goal is to be an INFORMATION AND ACTION HUB. We do this by partnering and building coalitions with organizations that represent the interests of girls and women, boys and men, parents and teachers and adolescent health care providers, among a host of other individuals, organizations and professionals devoted to the wellbeing of our nation’s youth. The Boys Initiative does not endorse or advocate for any particular point of view or proposed solution.

http://www.theboysinitiative.org/

Here is an example of the information available at their site:

Welcome toThe Minority Report, a publication ofMinority Male Youth 2005, a project of 

The Boys Initiative

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Promotes Racial Healing with New Online Documentary 

blackgivesback.com, June 29, 2012

Emotion Restriction and Discrimination Increase Depression in Minority Men
Rates of depression among African-American men are significantly lower than those found in African-American women, yet the suicide rates of African-American men are higher. This disparity caused Wizdom Powell Hammond, Ph.D., of the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of North Carolina to explore possible causes. Hammond recently conducted a study that looked at how adhering to masculine norms affected rates of depression among African-American men. Hammond wanted to determine if these men were underrepresented because they avoided help-seeking. Men who hold themselves to the masculine ideal of emotional restriction may internalize their feelings, especially feelings of stress, and avoid help-seeking for mental health issues such as depression.
Good Therapy, June 15, 2012

How Minority Millennials Are Driving Politics
Last Sunday, I was one of the estimated 40,000 people who attended a “silent march” in New York City organized by the NAACP to protest the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, which disproportionately impacts black and Latino males. One young black woman marching directly in front of me was holding a sign that said, “silence is violence.” When I asked her what it meant, she said, “A lot of us have problems with the whole silent march thing. The problem is we have been silent too long.” It seemed she was not alone – there were other young blacks and Latinos who chafed at the request that they march in silence, chanting slogans like “New York cops, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.
Time, June 21, 2012

Guest Voz: Latino inmate sentenced as juvenile speaks out on Supreme Court’s life without parole for youth
Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion abolishing life without parole (LWOP) sentences for the 2,500 prisoners across the U.S. who were condemned to die in prison for crimes they were convicted of as juveniles. Courts will now have discretion to impose a lesser sentence in those cases and consider age as a factor in sentencing. Juveniles can receive LWOP sentences, however, it is a discretionary sentence now, not a mandatory sentence in cases involving homicide. Prisoners all ready serving LWOP sentences for crimes they were convicted of as juveniles are now eligible for resentencing. How that process occurs will vary by state.
Latina Lista, June 25, 2012

Near-Westside Indy mentorship program provides positive male role models

They come from different family backgrounds and neighborhoods, but on Friday nights at the Rhodius Park Family Center, about 30 teenage boys meet for a common goal: learning how to become responsible young men. The teens are part of Boys II Men, a mentorship program founded in 1995 by Lars “Edward” Rascoe III, a former teacher for Pike Township Schools and a school administrator for Eastern Star Jewel Christian Academy. The group connects students in Grades 7-9 with positive male role models and promotes civic engagement, academic achievement, personal responsibility and respect for women. To date, more than 2,500 young men have participated in Boys II Men.

Indy Star, June 25, 2012

High court ruling on juvenile life sentences offers thousands of inmates a chance at freedom 

The Supreme Court ruling that banned states from imposing mandatory life sentences on juveniles offers an unexpected chance at freedom to more than 2,000 inmates who had almost no hope they would ever get out.

In more than two dozen states, lawyers can now ask for new sentences. And judges will have discretion to look beyond the crime at other factors such as a prisoner’s age at the time of the offense, the person’s background and perhaps evidence that an inmate has changed while incarcerated.

The Washington Post, June 26, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act, A Boon To Minority Health In The U.S.

In a largely unexpected turn, the U.S. Supreme Court declared nearly the entire Affordable Care Act a constitutional and fully legal shift in the American health care system. The court’s decision will be dissected today by legal scholars, health care experts, sharp-tonged commentators and ordinary Americans. But what may not be so widely discussed or understood is the sweeping effect that the court’s decision will likely have on minority health in the United States, according to health care economists and policy analysts. That broad benefit to minorities is a point the Obama administration itself has made — though somewhat infrequently — and one that’s likely to be invoked more often after the favorable ruling, as the presidential election fight intensifies.

The Huffington Post, June 28, 2012

The Unfair Criminalization of Gay and Transgender Youth

Gay, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth are significantly over-represented in the juvenile justice system-approximately 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested and/or detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are black or Latino. Though gay and transgender youth represent just 5 percent to 7 percent of the nation’s overall youth population, they compose 13 percent to 15 percent of those currently in the juvenile justice system. These high rates of involvement in the juvenile justice system are a result of gay and transgender youth abandonment by their families and communities, and victimization in their schools-sad realities that place this group of young people at a heightened risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline.

Center for American Progress, June 29, 2012

Lawmakers reach out to at-risk boys, men

At 15, Erik Montreal is a recovering alcoholic.

The Coachella Valley High School junior began to drink at 13, but now celebrates sobriety after receiving help from the Riverside County Latino Commission. On Friday, he shared his story of addiction and recovery before the California State Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, which held a four-hour hearing at Bobby Duke Middle School in Coachella.

Erik was one of about 24 speakers to share personal stories that emphasized the importance of support for minority men and boys who endure deteriorating schools, poor living conditions, violence and significant social prejudice.

My Desert, June 30, 2012

Anger runs deep over Supreme Court rejection of youth sentencing laws

Verle Mangum was 17 years old and high on methamphetamine when he took a baseball bat to a mother and her 11-year-old daughter after the mother caught him having sex with the daughter in her Clifton home. His sentence for their brutal murders was mandatory life in prison without parole. Mangum is 33 now. He had little hope of ever seeing the outside of prison walls, until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week determined that his sentence, and those of 49 other prisoners in Colorado and about 2,600 across the country, is unconstitutional.

The ruling found that juveniles could not be sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole.

Denver Post, July 01, 2012.

Juvenile justice: Courts turn focus to rehabilitation

It might seem like a simple process: commit a crime, go to court, go to jail.

But what if the offender is just a kid?

For juvenile courts, they’re continually striking a balance between punishing offenders and trying help them through counseling and mentoring programs, said Doug Schonauer, Coshocton County Probate and Juvenile Court administrator.

Schonauer has worked for the juvenile court 19 years, and during that time, he’s noticed a shift toward rehabilitation rather than punishment, he said. Various studies have shown rehabilitation works better with youth than adults, so that has become the court’s focus, Schonauer said.

Coshocton Tribune, July 01, 2012      

Young Black Males’ Writing Workshop at UIC Spawns National Curricula  

A summer writing institute for adolescent black males based at the University of Illinois at Chicago is advancing literacy around the country through two curricula based on it. Scholastic, Inc. recently launched “On the Record,” a middle-school school curriculum by Alfred Tatum, director of the UIC Reading Clinic. Last year, Scholastic published Tatum’s “ID,” a writing curriculum for high school.

Tatum based both curricula on the principles of his African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute, featured last fall in a PBS special, “Too Important to Fail,” by journalist Tavis Smiley.

Newswise, July 07, 2012

5 Latino-Inspired Books for Boys 

NBC Latino, July 04, 2012

Young people of multiple disadvantaged groups face worse health due to more discrimination
An Indiana University study found that teens and young adults who are members of multiple minority or disadvantaged groups face more discrimination than their more privileged peers and, as a result, report worse mental and physical health.
Medical Press.

Related:

Is there a ‘model minority’ ??                                 https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

UN-traditional Father’s Day message: Don’t become a father unless you can make the commitment to YOUR child https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/un-traditional-fathers-day-message-dont-become-a-father-unless-you-can-make-the-commitment-to-your-child/

Study: The plight of African-American boys in Oakland, California                                                    https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/study-the-plight-of-african-american-boys-in-oakland-california/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©