By Andrew Frank-Loron, Jennifer Handrich, and Chia-Chen Wu
Girls say they enjoy math in earlier grades, but tend to shy away in adolescence. However, as many girls as boys now take advanced math classes in high school and major in math almost as often in college. A the graduate level, however, the number of women entering math programs drops off significantly. According to the Department of Education, just 21 percent of math doctorates and 39 percent of masterıs degrees went to women in 1992 (US News and World Report, 11/7/94) The change doesnıt occur in graduate school, though. During the elementary years, females tend to be praised for their neat handwriting and appearance of assignments while boys are judged more on the actual content. It has also been discovered that girls think more about what they say in class; therefore, it takes them a longer amount of time to raise their hand in response to a question. Boys tend to speak as they think, which explains teachers quick recognition of male students. This forces girls to refrain from answering, and begins the trend that leads to less interest in math and science.
Do you find this in your classrooms? Do your teachers treat male and female students differently? There are many things that you, your parent(s), teachers, and administrators can do. One alternative, segregation, has been a hot topic recently. Segregation involves constructing separate math and science classes for males and females so hat both sexes feel comfortable in the classroom setting. Girls in exclusive math and science classes have been shown to achieve higher scores in tests and enjoy these subjects more. Would being in a sex-segregated learning environment increase your participation in a science class?