The researchers examined the academic records of every student who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy from 2000 to 2008 — more than 9,000 students in all. They found that women, and especially those with high mathematics-SAT scores, performed significantly better in introductory science courses if the courses were taught by women. Over all, the study found, “having a female professor reduces the gender gap in course grades by approximately two-thirds.”Is such a gender effect specific to this particular learning environment? The researchers argued that the compulsory and uniform nature of the courses overcomes some of the factors that researchers at a regular college would have to consider, such as whether motivated students seek out female teachers.
The study estimates that female students with strong math skills were 26 percentage points more likely to graduate with a science major if all of their intro-level science professors were women than if all of their intro-level science professors were men.
And was there a reverse effect? Did male students abandon science if their intro-level science courses were taught by women? Apparently not. For male students of all abilities, the study did not find any significant professor-gender effects.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
at 11:36 am by katy
A new study by three economists has found that female students (air force cadets who must take standardised courses) are more likely to succeed if they are taught by female Professors. Interestingly, it is the strongest students who appear to be most advantaged by having female teachers. Students who were already strong at science - those likeliest to succeed - were more likely to major in the subject if they had female teachers for introductory courses, though the gender of teachers didn't have an impact on the likelihood of average students choosing a science major.