There has long been a perception that girls and women have less aptitude for math and science subjects than boys and men. However, there is no factual basis to this belief. What is true is that by adolescence girls often have a lower level of confidence and, perhaps as a result, are less likely to show interest in technical subjects. Helping girls see past gendered stereotypes and existing self-perceptions can increase confidence and encourage them to follow educational and career paths in math and science fields.

To best support girls' success in math and science, teachers should help students understand that their academic ability is expandable with work and practice, provide prescriptive feedback that recognizes specific effort and offers suggestions for improvement, raise the visibility of women who excel in math and the sciences and can serve as female role models for students, offer engaging and meaningful activities that spark curiosity, and provide specific support in spatial skills instruction including visualization and manipulation.

To learn more about the research underlying these practices, view the IES Practice Guide, Encouraging Girls in Math and Science.

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Observing Feedback in a Math Classroom

Download this list of strategies for classroom organization, feedback processes, and checking for students’ understanding integrated by Ms. Anderson into her regular math classes. Related...

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07/24/2014
909 views
Encouraging Effort Through Feedback

Encouraging Effort Through Feedback

A sixth-grade math teacher describes how she praises students and corrects misunderstandings. Using individual and group feedback, the teacher addresses student frustration and communicates to...

School Example
Audio
07/24/2014
404 views

Written Feedback on Classwork in Elementary Math

See how an elementary school math teacher provides feedback on students’ work and effort using the number line to solve math problems. Related Media and Files: Encouraging Effort Through...

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07/24/2014
839 views

Teaching About Brain Plasticity

Use the suggested classroom activities in this tool to teach students about the brain’s ability to grow in response to enrichment and practice activities. Related Files: You Can Grow Your...

Tool
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07/24/2014
1007 views

Learning Together About Academic Abilities (Part 2)

Convene a follow-up in-service session about how to teach students that abilities are expandable using these suggested activities. Related Media and Files: Learning Together About Academic...

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07/24/2014
736 views

Teacher Self-Reflection: Teach Ability Is Expandable

Use this self-reflection worksheet to guide teachers’ understanding of messages and instructional strategies that may affect students’ beliefs about their abilities in math and science.

Tool
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07/24/2014
757 views

Learning Together About Academic Abilities (Part 1)

Convene a school in-service session about how teachers can help students develop accurate and positive perceptions of math and science abilities using these suggested activities. Related Media...

Tool
Document
07/24/2014
770 views

Classroom Reading: You Can Grow Your Intelligence

This classroom reading used at Green Valley Elementary School summarizes the research evidence supporting the claim that the brain can develop and change throughout life. Related...

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Document
07/24/2014
834 views
Instilling Confidence

Instilling Confidence

A high school associate principal discusses strategies to encourage girls in science classrooms. This interview highlights the need to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their...

School Example
Video
07/24/2014
384 views

Two Mindsets

Nigel Holmes designed this diagram, based on the research of Carol Dweck, to describe how students with growth and fixed mindsets may respond to challenges, successes, failure, and criticism in...

Sample Material
Document
07/24/2014
1751 views
Helping Students Learn From Mistakes

Helping Students Learn From Mistakes

An elementary school math teacher describes a schoolwide effort to teach students that they can expand their abilities through hard work and effort. The schoolwide approach entails professional...

School Example
Audio
07/24/2014
581 views
3-D Spatial Skills for Secondary Students (Part 2)

3-D Spatial Skills for Secondary Students (Part 2)

Dr. Sheryl Sorby provides suggestions for teaching spatial skills. Related Files: 3-D Spatial Skils for Secondary Students (Part 1) (Video)

Expert Interview
Video
07/24/2014
440 views
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