Encouraging Girls in Math & Science

I titled this blog Science for All, not because I thought it was catchy, but because I truly believe it. I believe that we need to fundamentally change the learning and teaching of K-12 science (higher education could stand to take a look in the mirror as well) so that all students have equitable access to effective science instruction and a future of science literacy.

One big part of the ALL are our female learners of science. If you are concerned about improving outcomes for girls in math and science, a nice place to start is the IES Practice Guide: Encouraging Girls in Math and Science (2007). Click on the title to download a pdf copy. The guide makes 5 Recommendations with each recommendation explicitly labeled as Strong, Moderate, or Low in terms of supporting evidence.

Recommendation 1: Teach students that academic abilities are expandable and improvable.

Recommendation 2: Provide prescriptive, informational feedback.

Recommendation 3: Expose girls to female role models who have succeeded in math and science.

Recommendation 4: Create a classroom environment that sparks initial curiosity
and fosters long-term interest in math and science.

Recommendation 5: Provide spatial skills training.

Each Recommendation is supported with: a brief summary of the supporting evidence, guidance for implementing the recommendation, and possible roadblocks and solutions.

Applications for Science Teachers: If you teach science and you happen to have some girls in your class, then there could be some important things to consider in this guide. This guide seems appropriate for all teachers, administrators, curriculum directors, PD providers, and informal science providers. Girl power!!

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