Teachers Think White Girls Can’t Do Math, UT Research Shows

Annie Oakley may have sung “Anything you can do, I can do better” to her sharpshooting male opponent in 1946’s Annie Get Your Gun, but even today, many are skeptical about a girl’s ability to hang with the guys.

Case in point: according to new UT research, the longtime stereotype that math is a man’s subject is still prevalent in today’s high schools.

Led by UT professor Catherine Riegle-Crumb, the research team looked at the grades, test scores, and teacher-rated performance evaluations of 15,000 students and came up with a surprising finding: teachers are convinced that white girls can’t do math, regardless of academic performance.

“Even with the same grades and the same test scores, the teachers are still ranking the girls as less good at math than the boys,” Riegle-Crum said in a Forbes article.

The researchers point out that bias against minority students may occur in high school math classrooms as well, but that the teacher ratings they studied indicated a strong and consistent bias for white girls versus white boys.

Riegle-Crum fears this bias has serious ramifications for women.

“If we continue to send young women the message that they aren’t as good at math,” Riegle-Crumb said, “it’s unlikely we’ll be able to increase the number of women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.”

The team’s findings, which will be published in the April issue of Gender & Society, were based on an Education Longitudinal Study that followed 15,000 U.S. students from their sophomore year in high school to their entrance into the workforce. The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Photo courtesy Flickr user cybrarian77.


Tags: , , , ,


1 Comment

Post a Comment