Women and Math

Learn about strategies to assist women in succeeding with math, an important skill area for science and technology.

A study of 279 students from Manhattan Community College reveals that for women, techniques like good communication with the instructor and peer tutoring can help alleviate anxiety they may feel in math class.

Source:

Peskoff, Fred, "Coping with Mathematics Anxiety: Guidelines for College Students and Faculty," Department of Mathematics, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY.

This paper examines changing beliefs about how women learn math, such as a preference for learning cooperatively, and reviews intervention programs for girls and women.

Source:

Fennema, Elizabeth, "Gender and Mathematics: What Is Known and What Do I Wish Was Known?," Prepared for the Fifth Annual Forum of the National Institute for Science Education, 2000.

This study looked at math instruction with content that appeals to feminine or masculine interests. It found that gender-adapted instruction makes a difference in student attitudes, which may affect persistence.

Source:

Leonard, Mary J.; Derry, Sharon J., "Can Gender-Adapted Instruction Improve Mathematics Performance and Attitudes?" Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001.

A summer program at the University of New Mexico used techniques such as small group instruction to improve mathematics scores. By the end of the class, nearly two-thirds of the participants had raised their algebra scores by 15%.

Source:

Ami, Carlon G., "The Effects of a Four Week Summer Bridge Program," University of New Mexico, 2001 6 pp.

How do women feel about mathematics and math classes? Discover issues facing women, such as gaining confidence in their abilities and seeing math as part of a bigger picture.

Source:

Tobias, Sheila, "Gender Equity for Mathematics and Science: Notes on Invited Faculty Presentations," Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program in Mathematics.

This article looks at approaches to learning by men and women. Among its findings: women tend to look for personal connections and relevance in their coursework.

Source:

Lim Yuen Lie, Lisa-Angelique, and Emil Cheong, "How do Male and Female Students Approach Learning at NUS?" Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 7, No.1, January 2004.

The authors describe how The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, a computer game, uses techniques such as gender-neutral characters and storytelling to help get female and male students interested in higher-level mathematical and strategic thinking.

Source:

Rubin, Andree, Megan Murray, Kim O'Neil, Juania Ashley, "What Kind of Educational Computer Games Would Girls Like?," AERA Presentation, April 1997, TERC 1998.

A four-day summer program for freshman female engineering students at Arizona State University led to improved retention rates of participants: 70% to 80%, compared with 60% for women not in the program.

Source:

Fletcher, Shawna, Dana Newell, Leyla Newton, Mary Anderson-Rowland, "The WISE Summer Bridge Program: Assessing Student Attrition, Retention, and Program Effectiveness," Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition.

The designers of The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis explain how the computer game makes math fun for girls and young women, while introducing concepts such as logical relationships, graphing and algebra.

Source:

Hancock, Chris and Scot Osterweil, "Zoombinis and the Art of Mathematical Play," Hands On!, Volume 19, No. 1, Spring 1996.