Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Girls Less Confident Than Boys In Science Classes, Researcher Finds

Date:
November 4, 1998
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Girls remain a step behind boys in their confidence and participation levels in science classrooms, despite a hands-on teaching approach now popular in many science classrooms, according to University of Illinois research.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Girls remain a step behind boys in their confidence and participation levels in science classrooms, despite a hands-on teaching approach now popular in many science classrooms, according to University of Illinois research.

Related Articles


"Current reform efforts say that if we change the way we teach science, we will help girls," said Jasna Jovanovic, a professor of human development and family studies at the U. of I. "My data suggest that this may not be the case entirely, because we continue to have girls who are less interested in science, and girls who are less confident about their abilities in science."

Jovanovic, however, said that neither the hands-on approach nor the teachers are to blame for the differences between middle-school-aged girls and boys, who still tend to dominate.

"It may be that not enough time has passed for these reform efforts to make a difference. Boys do have more science experiences to bring into the classroom, such as taking flashlights apart, playing computer games and going to science museums. Boys have done that more. It may take years before girls can catch up," she said. "Until they do, they may continue to feel less confident."

Findings of her work -- funded by the National Science Foundation -- were published in October's American Educational Research Journal, September's Journal of Educational Psychology and in the mid-year issue of the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

In the Educational Psychology article (the graduate thesis of Ellen Rydell Altermatt, a doctoral student in psychology), the researchers found that boys were more likely to volunteer to answer questions, and that teachers were not deliberately calling upon boys more often. "Far fewer girls were willing to raise their hands to answer questions," Jovanovic said.

"These classes were almost always dominated by boys volunteering, but girls were just as likely as boys to be called on when their hands were raised," she said. "This is further evidence that teachers are not always showing a bias toward boys."

Researchers observed and surveyed 165 students (fifth- through eighth-graders) in six innovative science classrooms. "Granted, this study looks at a special set of teachers, but one would have expected that in classrooms where teachers are more sensitive that girls would be more willing to participate. That element is still not there. There is still something that is holding girls back."

In fact, the data reported in the American Educational Research Journal suggest that girls reported a decrease in their own perceptions of their scientific abilities at the end of the school year, indicating that boys and girls experienced the classrooms differently.

The problem, Jovanovic said, may be "something systemic that has been going on for years." An answer may be found outside the classroom, she said, especially in girls' access to science-related activities outside of school that may stimulate scientific curiosity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Girls Less Confident Than Boys In Science Classes, Researcher Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981104075118.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1998, November 4). Girls Less Confident Than Boys In Science Classes, Researcher Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981104075118.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Girls Less Confident Than Boys In Science Classes, Researcher Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981104075118.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins