Early adolescence is a time when gender role expectations and stereotypes come into focus. It is also a time when adolescents’ academic interests take shape. We are interested in adolescents’ awareness of gender stereotypes about math and science and whether such awareness impact their academic interests. We are particularly interested in identifying types of classrooms that protect girls and students of color from gender and racial stereotypes in STEM.
In a new study of middle school students, we test whether specific features of classes (e.g., gender composition of the class; presence of high-achieving same-sex peers), or types of pedagogy (collaborative learning, emphasis on the real world relevance of science and math) influence adolescents’ interest, confidence, performance, and future aspirations in math and science.
We are exploring whether children of different genders and racial identities respond similarly or differently to these classroom contexts and pedagogies.