This study investigated the learning preferences of female students enrolled in pre-requisite math classes that are gateway to chemistry, engineering, and physics majors at a 4-year public university in southern California. A gender gap exists in certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines; this gap may be exacerbated by pedagogies that favor males and make learning more difficult for females. STEM-related jobs were forecast to increase 22% from 2004 to 2014. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, only 18.8% of industrial engineers are female. From 2006 - 2011, at the institution where this study took place, the percentage of females who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering was 16.63%. According to the National Science Foundation, in 2010 there were 1.569 million “Engineering Occupations” in the U.S., of which only 200,000 (12.7%) were held by females. STEM professions are highly paid and prestigious; those members of society who hold these positions enjoy a secure financial and societal place.
This study uses the Women’s Ways of Knowing, Procedural Knowledge: Separate and Connected Knowing theoretical framework. A modified version of the Attitudes Toward Thinking and Learning Survey was used to assess student’s pedagogical preference. Approximately 700 math students were surveyed; there were 486 respondents. The majority of the respondents (n=366; 75.3%) were STEM students. This study did not find a statistically significant relationship between gender and student success; however, there was a statistically significant difference between the learning preferences of females and males. Additionally, there was a statistically significant result between the predictor variables gender and pedagogy on the dependent variable student self-reported grade. If Connected Knowledge pedagogies can be demonstrated to provide a significant increase in student learning, and if the current U.S. educational system is unable to produce sufficient graduates in these majors, then it seems reasonable that STEM teachers would be willing to consider best practices to enhance learning for females so long as male students’ learning is not devalued or diminished.
|Commitee:||An, Shuhua, Forrest, Laura|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Womens studies, Pedagogy, Educational psychology, Gender studies, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Attitudes toward think and learning survey, Belenky, Connected knowledge, Gender, Science, technology, engineering, and math, Zohar|
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