June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.1042.1 - 23.1042.17
Research-Informed Practices for Inclusive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Classrooms: Strategies for Educators to Close the Gender Gap (other topics) The under-representation and attrition of female students in science, technology,engineering, and math (STEM) fields is a widely acknowledged, complex problem for whichsolutions will be multi-faceted. However, while a wide body of research examines factors thatinfluence girls’ and women’s experiences in these fields, many STEM educators at the secondaryand post-secondary levels are unfamiliar with the most recent research on gender’s relation toSTEM classes. This paper aims to bridge the research to educational practice with practicalstrategies for educators as they work to capture students’ initial interest in STEM and retainstudents who are already interested. All practices were initially chosen for their constructivenessfor women, but in fact the benefits of most practices can be broadened to all STEM students. The selected research in this literature review presents not only how students’educational experiences vary by gender, but also how women and men’s interpretations of thesame educational experiences differ. A focus was given to papers about gender in math, physics,chemistry, and engineering courses at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Within theprimary focus on gender there is a sub-focus on under-represented minority status. Keyconstructs that arose were self-efficacy, identity, and self-concept. Once several clear themesemerged from the general survey of research, further research review was tailored to those themeareas. The Journal of Engineering Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teachingwere particularly relevant; however sources include other journals as well as books, articles, andreports. The literature review suggests eight essential classroom practices and experiences that areorganized into three categories: • The “Skills to Emphasize” category encourages educators to teach skills such as math, spatial reasoning, communication, and resilience. For example, regarding emphasizing communication skills in engineering, most educators probably do not realize that performing well on English tests can decrease a student's perception of his or her own math skills. Moreover, this negative effect of good English grades on mathematical self- assessments is stronger for females than for males (Correll, 2001). This knowledge provides compelling evidence to emphasize the importance of communication skills and to reshape the society’s false creed that math and language skills are mutually exclusive. • The “Scaffolding to Implement” section emphasizes the importance of active expert roles and clear feedback in grading. These practices target the gender gap in self-efficacy by building mastery experiences and preventing stereotypes from interfering with girls’ self-assessments of competency, respectively. • The “Mindsets to Adapt” category establishes the need for educators to re-evaluate group work practices and to be conscious of differential treatment of students by gender. By challenging common assumptions in student-student and student-teacher interactions, the research in this category aims to address subtle cues in social situations that may be influencing students’ decisions with regard to pursuing STEM studies. Each suggestion can be applied to improve a single course or more broadly practiced overseveral courses to further the benefit. Notably, none of the suggested practices require newinfrastructure, materials, or staff. Following the presentation and discussion of the supportingresearch for each of the eight practices, implementation strategies are outlined. This will giveeducators practical recommendations on how to make courses more inclusive. Theimplementation strategies are followed by a brief outline of suggested directions for futureresearch. Therefore this paper is of relevance to both educators and researchers.
Scutt, H. I., & Gilmartin, S. K., & Sheppard, S., & Brunhaver, S. R. (2013, June), Research-Informed Practices for Inclusive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Classrooms: Strategies for Educators to Close the Gender Gap Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22427
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