Gender in schools and accomodating differences
And what happens if a woman perseveres in obtaining a college degree in a field where she encounters discrimination and underestimation and wants to pursue a postgraduate degree in that field, and maybe eventually work in academia?
The literature suggests additional obstacles await her.
The careers orientation and guidance provided in schools provides an important foundation for this.
Teachers will be asked to be aware of gender-based differences in choice behaviour and the need to encourage boys and girls to make well-considered choices based on their own particular talents.
Besides subject choice and achievement at school, social influence is also a significant factor that influences pupils' results, for example, strong peer pressure among teenagers.
This often leads to an anti-school attitude, particularly in boys, whereas girls are expected to be hard-working and do as they are told.
These are my students’ standardized test scores, and there are absolutely no gender differences.
An interaction that Sarah and I had with a teacher drove home the importance and real-world relevance of these results.
However, I doubt that a more nuanced policy for assessing math gains would address the underlying problem of the year-after-year underestimation of girls’ abilities and various signals and beliefs that buttress boys’ confidence and devalue girls, all of which cumulatively contributes to any measured gaps.
Looking beyond K-12 education, there is mounting evidence at the college and postgraduate levels that cultural differences between academic disciplines may be driving women away from STEM fields, as well as away from some non-STEM fields (e.g., criminal justice, philosophy, and economics).
The reasons for these discrepancies are not entirely clear, but what is clear is that there is no reason to expect that “hardening” the role of gender in accountability policies that use existing state tests and current benchmarks will change the current state of gender gaps.
Policymakers might consider implementing test measures similar to those where gaps have been noted and placing more emphasis on gains throughout the achievement distribution.