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Math teachers demonstrate a bias toward white male students

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posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 03:54 PM
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Frankly, this study of 15,000 students and the analysis of the assessment provided by their instructors versus the performance of the students generally, and in math, appears to be intended towards identifying gender bias....

Unexpectedly, perhaps, some form of race bias entered into the picture.....

The inclusion of the adjective "white" in the title seems pointlessly applied... unless "21st century journalism" and "publishing acumen" are at play in what should be a clinical and scientific treaty on the subject... (In my opinion, it's what many ATSers can come to expect from media nowadays.....)

This study was published in a new article released in the April 2012 issue of Gender & Society (GENDSOC), the official journal of the Sociologists for Women in Society, published by SAGE and can be found here:

gas.sagepub.com...

For the curious.. note the stated mission of Sociologists for Women in Society is:


SWS is a non-profit scientific and educational organization of sociologists and others dedicated to:

- maximizing the effectiveness of and professional opportunities for women in sociology
- exploring the contributions which sociology can, does and should make to the investigation of
and humanization of current gender arrangements
- improving women's lives and creating feminist social change


So, it seems that providence led the academicians (Catherine Riegle-Crumb and Melissa Humphries) to find that gender alone was not a factor in the bias... and even that it may be self-perceived bias attenuation that made for some of the surprises in the data.


Researchers Catherine Riegle-Crumb and Melissa Humphries analyzed data collected by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) that consisted of a nationally representative group of about 15,000 students. Their data also included teacher surveys in which math teachers were asked to offer their personal assessment of individual students, indicating whether they felt that the course was too easy for the student, the appropriate level, or too difficult. The researchers compared these assessments with other data about the students such as their math GPA and their score on a standardized math test in order to determine if the teachers' perceptions of their students' abilities matched up with the students' actual scores.

After analyzing this data, the researchers found disparities between teachers' favorable perceptions of the abilities of their white male students and these students' scores. Conversely, white female students were perceived by teachers to be doing more poorly in their math classes than they actually were.

The researchers did not, however, find the same disparities between white students and minority students. In fact, they found that math teachers actually favored black female students, claiming that these students were more successful in their math classes than they actually were.

The authors wrote, "Once we take into account that, on average, Black and Hispanic male and female students have lower grades and test scores than white males, teachers do not rate the math ability of minority students less favorably than students belonging to the traditionally advantaged category of white males."


The above emphasis was added by me. I am trying to head off the overt racism such a statement can engender.

The actual study is entitled Exploring Bias in Math Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Ability by Gender and Race/Ethnicity


.... teachers may be more sensitive to their own tendencies towards racial bias than gender bias as gender bias may be so socially ingrained that it is harder to notice and therefore harder to resist.
The authors wrote, "The occurrence of bias in high school classrooms indicates that cultural expectations likely function to shape interactions and re-create inequality throughout the math pipeline that leads to high-status occupations in related fields of science and technology."


It's a worth-while read for those interested in the study of pedagogy.

Enjoy!


edit on 16-4-2012 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-4-2012 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:25 PM
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Another thing to consider: males tend to be more outspoken and often will dominate a discussion. I've noticed the girls seem content to play a more passive role in discussions.

Interestingly enough, both male and female perform pretty equally.

I've read similar studies of pedagogy and one solution I've always wanted to try was to sort the class by gender.

Thanks for the awesome read.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:34 PM
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So they rated minority students as well even though they actually didn't do so hot on average. What this shows me is that the expectations of minority students are lower, which shows racism.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:38 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


The reason that the females are perceived by the teachers to perform worse than they actually do, is because a large percentage of females just do not care about or like math. Their ability to do math is not in question, there does not seem to be a gender difference in the ability to understand mathematics, and many females are better "students", but the desire is just not there.

We have prioritized the Sciences and by proxy Mathematics so much in our education that we have fallen under the false idea that they are the only things that matter. Many females have the ability to understand the higher levels of math, they just don't like it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this either. We need to stop trying to force square pegs in round holes.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:42 PM
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reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck
 


Actually, that isn't exactly a balanced interpretation. What it appears to show is that teacher value the efforts of the traditionally oppressed more than those who haven't any "disadvantage."

It's still bias, true, but the issue of trained teachers not contending with their own tendencies to 'compensate' for their perceptions of a person based on gender or race is real.

If we begin to categorize this kind of tendency as 'racism' we have to take a long hard look at emotions like empathy and sympathy in the same light - then there is mentor-ship and stewardship to assess. It is not unethical to want to see someone you like do well.... it is however unethical to actively diminish someone you don't like so they don't succeed.

Teachers, students, parents, and you and I, are human. The human element of inserting our judgement into everything we do may not be something we can ever eliminate entirely... but we can study and measure it in the hopes of understanding it, and perhaps figuring out a way to account for it.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I think you are spot on with the separation of the sexes during classroom instruction. The male/female gender dynamic among the students often gets in the way of learning. Men and Women learn things differently and respond to disparate methods of instruction. We are so hamstrung right now in the United States at least, that people would cry foul at the thought of separating the classroom by gender, (at least during the formative years), but I think it would help a lot with our Secondary education system.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by mirrormaker326
 



...a large percentage of females just do not care about or like math.


Unless I am mistaken, a large percentage of ANY gender or RACE of students do not care about math. I think it's about the methodology and curriculum, more than the students themselves.

I have a difficult time accepting that females are 'generally' averse to the language of mathematics. I think it's more likely that generations of teachers and institutionalized teaching doctrines suffer from too much inertia when the culture changes around them.... at such times they continue to teach as they always have... expecting the students to conform... whereas a true teacher might conform to the culture of the students to teach effectively.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:49 PM
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Females don't care about math? What?

Don't you mean 99% of students male or female don't care about math? One of the most ridiculous things I have ever read on ATS. I can't believe that post got stars.



edit on 16-4-2012 by RealSpoke because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 04:54 PM
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this is interesting because if the teachers are just glossing over the black girls and they are not learning functions or anything then something is amiss.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:00 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


I finally catch a break!

Woo!




posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:05 PM
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Yet another study to confirm that, somehow, white males are being given some kind of special consideration not given to others. I think the plan is if we keep beating this dead horse into submission, it will then become fact. That's ok, we've got big shoulders. Pile it on.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:05 PM
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Just read more of the study now, not the whole thing but there's a reason why minorities score less on test scores. Inner city schools are deplorable and the experience I had with them, I wouldn't call it education.

But anyways, I'm not surprised that the teachers perceived minorities to be less intelligent, especially black people. It is a stereotype and it is still thrown around in movies/media. There's a lot of subconscious racism as well as conscious going on.

A lot of white people are offended if minorities talk about "white privilege", and I really don't get it. A lot of whites have actually convinced themselves there is no longer racial discrimination.
edit on 16-4-2012 by RealSpoke because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by Maxmars
reply to post by mirrormaker326
 



...a large percentage of females just do not care about or like math.


Unless I am mistaken, a large percentage of ANY gender or RACE of students do not care about math. I think it's about the methodology and curriculum, more than the students themselves.

I have a difficult time accepting that females are 'generally' averse to the language of mathematics. I think it's more likely that generations of teachers and institutionalized teaching doctrines suffer from too much inertia when the culture changes around them.... at such times they continue to teach as they always have... expecting the students to conform... whereas a true teacher might conform to the culture of the students to teach effectively.


Mathematical ability is directly tied to brain development. We know the average age children begin to understand fundamental principles of math, but every child is unique. Some take longer to blossom than others.

In the past, math has been taught using a formulaic approach. For example, if I asked you to multiply 75 and 36, you would most likely write down the problem and work it using the rote formula you learned ages ago. That's how math was taught: one right way only.

We no longer teach math formulaicly. Instead, we show students different ways to correctly work the problem, then let the student decide which she prefers. I have an analogy I like to use; there's a lot of different ways to get to Walmart. It doesn't matter which street you took, so long as you made it to Walmart.

Math instruction is FINALLY getting the overhaul it needs.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:28 PM
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reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck
 





\What this shows me is that the expectations of minority students are lower, which shows racism.


I think it actually show's, based on the respondents experience, some people do better in math than others.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by mirrormaker326
 


Really? Females just don't have an interest in math? Is that your educated and scientifically based answer or your opinion?

Or is it because countries such as the US insist that there is gender differences and therefor girls are not hardwired for math?
it is called gender priming. You keep telling females they can't do as well and math and they will start to believe it.

Actually, in other countries where they don't tell the females this, such as Germany and Russia, the females do much much better in math. In countries where there is more educational and financial opportunities for girls, they score much higher in math. And send a lot more girls to the math Olympiad, as oppossed to the US and.....Iran.

Because of gender priming, boys are encouraged to learn math because it is a skill, which is how it should be portrayed to everybody, but for girls, they are told it is a talent, as opposed to something that is needed. And girls are often told by teachers that math is harder for them, because of the silly myth that boys are hardwired for math and girls are not.
When you have negative expectations coming from teachers and parents, how does that encourage girls to learn math?

Girls and boys do equally well in math through elementary school, it is when children are in middle school that girls start lagging. When you start approaching harder subjects such as geometry.

this thought process is so pervasive that when parents were polled on whether their girls or boys are doing better in math, they will say the boys, even if both children have the same grades.

Now this is disturbing, in 1992, Mattel released a talking Barbie that said: Math is hard!

So in a sense, you are correct. But it is the disturbing trend behind it that makes the difference.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:42 PM
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I work in an Engineering Department of a large research Univeristy. For the past 20 years, there has been a concerted effort to increase the female enrollment in the hard sciences and mathematics. Female students are actively recruited, offered amazing finacial aid/scholarship packages, and have a lot more attention given to them than to their male undergraduate counterparts.

Despite all of the recent opportunities offered to female students, there has been an upper limit as to how many women choose to puruse discplines in these areas. Those females who are interested are valued and do well, but the small numbers of females choosing these careers cannot be blamed on sexism or gender discrimination.

Women were unfairly and cruelly denied access to these careers for many years. This is not the case anymore, if a female shows a modicum of interest in the hard sciences, she can pursue it. There is nothing stopping them at this point from studying any traditional "male dominated field".

You can only blame gender bias for so long before you start looking to other reasons why females are under represented in these disciplines. There is no difference in their abilities, so it comes down to preference and desire. Even women who are naturally gifted at Math, may not particularly like it, so they CHOOSE to do something else.

You are right, many people dislike math. But those who do really really like Math and the Hard Sciences are more often than not males. I am not saying that there are no good female engineers or mathematicians or that gender should have anything to do with this or that all women dislike math. I am speaking about perferences, and there is nothing wrong with disliking something. If they liked it, they would choose to study it at a higher level. They are not CHOOSING to do so.

Gender and Race are two wholly separate issues, and should not be conflated. The journal article referenced in the OP was predominantly dealing with gender, but a quote was cherry picked to highlight an issue with Race, and the thread has proceeded as such.


edit on 16-4-2012 by mirrormaker326 because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-4-2012 by mirrormaker326 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:43 PM
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edit on 16-4-2012 by mirrormaker326 because: Double Post



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by Tippys Dad
 


Only privelaged white guys go around thinking that they don't get special priveleges.



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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reply to post by nixie_nox
 


If you read my original post, instead of putting words in my mouth, then you would see that I adamantly denied a difference in the abilities of female to males in math.

I said that they many females do not LIKE math, not that they were inferior in ablitites. Females are better students in general. The gender priming argument has no weight anymore. If a female enjoys higher levels of math, then in the United States she can pursue it. Girls are eschewing the Hard Sciences because they do not like them as much as their male counterparts.
edit on 16-4-2012 by mirrormaker326 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by RealSpoke
 


I didn't say that all males like math and all females dislike math. Most people in general do not like math. There is a continuing lament in Higher Education about the under representation of females in discplines that require proficiency in Differential Calculus, Discrete Math and Applied Linear Algebra. Maybe I am too much in the bubble of Higher Education and didn't clarify enough.

Despite excessive efforts to increase the numbers of women in these fields, they are not CHOOSING to study them. My point is this...For the small number of human beings who have the desire and interest to learn higher mathematics, they tend to be male. Females, if they want to, can learn these things, but the desire is not there.

BTW, I will never write anything on ATS in the hopes of getting stars or attention via a stupid little rubric used to gauge legitimacy or popularity on an internet message board. I don't give a # if people like what I say or not.
edit on 16-4-2012 by mirrormaker326 because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-4-2012 by mirrormaker326 because: (no reason given)




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