Lack of Math Confidence Dissuades Female Students From Pursuing STEM

July 29, 2016
Research finds that lack of confidence in math ability, rather than math capability itself, discourages female students from STEM disciplines.

It’s not lack of ability; it’s lack of confidence in their math prowess that keeps female students from pursuing STEM disciplines. That’s the conclusion of new research reported in Science Magazine that indicates female college students are 1.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to leave STEM after taking the first course in the calculus series.

According to the article, students overall were more apt to stay on the calculus track if they were pursuing careers in engineering, had good instructors or had good scores on math SAT and ACT standardized tests. Still, when comparing students with the same backgrounds, experience and plans, researchers reportedly found the attrition rate for female students was 1.5 times higher than for males. This, according to the study authors quoted, means that females are “effectively choosing to exit the STEM pipeline.”

Read the entire article here.

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