Asee peer logo

High School Math And Science Teachers' Awareness Of Gender Equity Issues From A Research Based Workshop

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Gender and Accessibility Issues in K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.804.1 - 12.804.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Stephen Krause Arizona State University

visit author page

Stephen J. Krause is Professor and an Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Materials in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. His teaching responsibilities are in the areas of design and selection of materials, general materials engineering, polymer science, and characterization of materials. His research interests are in innovative education in engineering and K-12 engineering outreach. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory for assessing fundamental knowledge of students in introductory materials engineering classes. Most recently, he has been working on Project Pathways, an NSF supported Math Science Partnership, in developing modules for a courses on Connecting Mathematics with Physics and Chemistry and also a course on Engineering Capstone Design.

visit author page


Veronica Burrows Arizona State University

visit author page

Veronica Burrows is Associate Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology and Associate professor in the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering at Arizona State University. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. In addition to technical research interest in applied surface chemistry, her engineering education research interests include the learning of engineering modeling, the impact of reflective practice in learning engineering, authentic assessment methods, and "girl-friendly" education.

visit author page


Judy Sutor Arizona State University

visit author page

Judy Sutor is a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Arizona State University. She earned her BSEE degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, then spent 22 years working in Research and New Product Development in the Semiconductor industry. Her principle research area is in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) habits that make for successful problem solving and how these habits relate to successful professional learning communities among High School Science and Mathematics teachers.

visit author page


Marilyn Carlson Arizona State University

visit author page

Marilyn Carlson is a Professor in the Mathematics Department at ASU and Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET). Her teaching responsibilities are in the areas of mathematics education. Her research interests are in knowing and learning concepts of precalculus and beginning calculus, problem solving, secondary teacher knowledge, and teacher change. She is currently principle investigator and director of the NSF supported Math Science Partnership, Project Pathways: Opening Routes to Math & Science Success for All Students.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

High School Math and Science Teachers' Awareness of Gender and Equity Issues from a Research-Based Workshop Abstract

Over the past decade the first-time enrollment of females in undergraduate engineering has not increased and remains at about 20%, in spite of ongoing K-12 engineering gender diversity programs. The underlying cause for the decline is not cognitive ability or academic performance. Instead, the cause has sociocultural roots that create barriers to female participation in science and engineering education and careers. The research literature shows that some of the most important STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) participation barriers along the educational pathway from K-12 to undergraduate engineering include: "chilly climate" in science classrooms; lack of tinkering self efficacy; lack of technical self efficacy; lack of societal relevance of STEM careers; and lack of female and minority STEM role models. This work presents the results of a research-based workshop on issues that inhibit females from enrolling in college curricula that lead to STEM degrees and careers. The workshop was presented to 48 high school math and science teachers (80% female and 20% male) from four school districts who were participating in a four-course sequence of math, science, and engineering classes as part of a National Science Foundation sponsored Math Science Partnership project entitled, Project Pathways. The workshop was conducted with an active learning approach that included frequent breaks for reflection, discussion and recording of facts, ideas, experiences, strategies and possible actions. The results showed that all teachers were aware that gender-equity issues existed in K-12 science and math classrooms. However, they were less frequently aware of underlying causes or of possible approaches to address the causes. The teachers were aware of some of the types of findings in the research literature such as gender and minority stereotypes, the "chilly climate" in some math and science classrooms, and the lack of female and minority role models. However, many were unaware of other types of findings in the literature which were composed of more subtle forms of bias, such as lack of activities to develop tinkering self- efficacy and more frequent control of classroom labs and projects by more aggressive males than less aggressive females. Based on the their own experience and their informed knowledge of research-based gender and equity issues, the teachers proposed strategies to address the issues. The most frequently cited strategy for addressing the STEM gender barrier was improving tinkering self-efficacy. Suggestions included participation in hands-on activities at home, parental involvement, starting early in elementary school, and structuring laboratories and projects for equal female and male participation. Specific responses and analysis, as well as other less frequently cited issues and strategies, are presented in more detail in body of the paper.


Although the nation’s workforce is composed of 46% women, only 23% of scientists and engineers are women1. Engineering is on of the least equitable professions with 9% women, while the physical sciences have 22% women and, surprisingly, even the life sciences, have only 36% women. In contrast, female lawyers and doctors are approaching a level of 50% in their professions overall1, while math, seen in the past as a male domain, is now perceived by students to be a female or gender-neutral domain2. Students begin to make critical decisions about future course selection and possible career paths in middle school through early high school, where adolescents' individual identity begins to emerge3. Yet, it is also in middle school that a gender

Krause, S., & Burrows, V., & Sutor, J., & Carlson, M. (2007, June), High School Math And Science Teachers' Awareness Of Gender Equity Issues From A Research Based Workshop Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1642

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015