Five Myths about Girls and Science

  • by

A press release from the National Science Foundation addresses the five following myths:

1. Myth: From the time they start school, most girls are less interested in science than boys are.
Reality: In elementary school about as many girls as boys have positive attitudes toward science. …

2. Myth: Classroom interventions that work to increase girls’ interest in STEM run the risk of turning off the boys.
Reality: Actually, educators have found that interventions that work to increase girls’ interest in STEM also increase such interest among the boys in the classroom. …

3. Myth: Science and math teachers are no longer biased toward their male students.
Reality: In fact, biases are persistent, and teachers often interact more with boys than with girls in science and math. …

4. Myth: When girls just aren’t interested in science, parents can’t do much to motivate them.
Reality: Parents’ support (as well as that of teachers) has been shown to be crucial to a girl’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math. …

5. Myth: At the college level, changing the STEM curriculum runs the risk of watering down important “sink or swim” coursework.
Reality: The mentality of needing to “weed out” weaker students in college majors–especially in the more quantitative disciplines–disproportionately weeds out women. This is not necessarily because women are failing. Rather, women often perceive “Bs” as inadequate grades and drop out, while men with “Cs” will persist with the class. …

More details: Press Release 07-108, August 27, 2007

Thanks (again) to fairerscience.org