More Compulsory Math Lessons Do Not Encourage Women To Pursue STEM Careers, Study Finds

An anonymous reader shares a report: The demand for employees in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and math) is particularly high, as corporations compete to attract skilled professionals in the international market. What is known as “curriculum intensification” is often used around the world to attract more university entrants — and particularly more women — to these subjects; that is to say, students have on average more mandatory math courses at a higher level. Scientists from the LEAD Graduate School and Research Network at the University of Tubingen have now studied whether more advanced math lessons at high schools actually encourages women to pursue STEM careers. Their work shows that an increase in advanced math courses during two years before the final school-leaving exams does not automatically create the desired effects. On the contrary: one upper secondary school reform in Germany, where all high school students have to take higher level math courses, has only increased the gender differences regarding their interests in activities related to the STEM fields. The young female students’ belief in their own math abilities was lower after the reform than before. The results have now been published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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