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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