New research by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (abstract available here), provides evidence that female instructors may be key to encouraging talented female STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students to stay in those disciplines.
The study compares the behavior of female and male students in introductory calculus course sections taught by male and female instructors. This course is required for all science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and is the type of course that typically is the last STEM class for many women — even those who have done well and shown interest in math and science. The idea behind the research is that certain strategies “inoculate” female students against the sense that they don’t belong or are not likely to succeed in math and science courses.
Read the full article here.