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Topic: Is There a Gender Achievement Gap in Introductory College Math?
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Richard Hake

Posts: 1,251
From: Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Registered: 12/4/04
Is There a Gender Achievement Gap in Introductory College Math?
Posted: Aug 17, 2013 8:01 PM
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Some subscribers to MathEdCC might be interested in a recent post
"Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in Introductory College Physics"
[Hake (2013)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Jane Jackson of the PhysLrnR list has called attention to
the "Science" article "Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College
Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation" (Miyake et al.,
2010) at <>. The abstract reads, in part: "The
current study tested the effectiveness of a psychological
intervention, called 'values affirmation,' in reducing the gender
achievement gap in a college-level introductory physics class. [It]
reduced the male-female performance and learning difference
substantially and elevated women's modal grades from the C to B
range. . . . . A brief psychological intervention may be a promising
way to address the gender gap in science performance and learning."
In addition to the elevation of women's modal grades, Miyake et al.,
showed that the "values affirmation" intervention substantially
increased women's end-of semester scores on the Force Motion
Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE).

However, PhysLrnR's alert Antti Savinainen (2013) pointed to:

a. The fact the results of Miyake et al. (2010) were not fully
replicated in a follow-up study "Replicating a Self-Affirmation
Intervention to Address Gender Differences: Successes and Challenges"
[Kost-Smith et al. (2011)] at <>. They wrote:
". . . . we find similar patterns [to Miyake et al., 2010 for] exams
and course grades, but do not observe these patterns [for] the FMCE."

b. The scholarly review "The gender gap on concept inventories in
physics: what is consistent, what is inconsistent, and what factors
influence the gap" by Madsen, McKagan, & Sayre (2013) at
<>. Their abstract reads in part: "Based on our
analysis of 24 published articles comparing the impact of 34 factors
that could potentially influence the gender gap, no single factor is
sufficient to explain the gap. Several high-profile studies that have
claimed to account for or reduce the gender gap have failed to be
replicated in subsequent studies, suggesting that isolated claims of
explanations of the gender gap should be interpreted with caution.
For example, claims that the gender gap could be eliminated through
interactive engagement teaching methods or through a 'values
affirmation exercise' were not supported by subsequent studies. . . .
. . . the gender gap is most likely due to the combination of many
small factors, rather than due to any one factor that can be easily

To access the complete 25 kB post please click on <>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <>
Academia: <>
Blog: <>
GooglePlus: <>
Google Scholar: <>
Twitter: <>
Facebook: <>
LinkedIn: <>

"A paper that does not have references is like a child without an
escort walking at night in a big city it does not know: isolated,
lost, anything may happen to it."
- Bruno Latour (1987).

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by <> and accessed on 16
August 2013.]
Hake, R.R. 2013. "Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in Introductory
College Physics," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<>. Post of 16 Aug 2013 18:02:49-0400 to AERA-L
and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being
distributed to various discussion lists and are on my blog
"Hake'sEdStuff" at <> with a provision for

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