Mandatory Math Lessons Fail To Inspire More Girls to Pursue STEM Careers


Educators and corporations around the world have been putting up campaigns and programs to encourage more and more students, especially girls, to pursue careers in STEM or science, technology, engineering. This strategy is called "curriculum intensification" where college applicants are being enticed to get involved in STEM-related fields, but a study has found that this technique fails to attain the expected results.

Scientists from the LEAD Graduate School and Research Network at the University of Tübingen have conducted a research in order to determine whether mandatory advanced math lessons in high school really influence women to take on STEM-related careers, Science Dail reported. Their research shows that having additional math courses during the 2 years before the students take the final exams does not necessarily produce the expected effects.

According to UPI, curriculum intensification pertains to having more mandatory hard math and science courses introduced, and this was implemented in high schools in Germany. What the students were required were four additional math lessons per week.

While previous studies have shown that exposing students to high level math courses encourage higher enrollment in STEM courses, the team discovered that it did not apparently have the same effect for women. In fact, the results were the opposite.

Lead study author Nicolas Hübner said in a news release, said that this could be because the students would have preferred courses with less math subjects before the reform and the higher performance level after the reform had led them to undervalue their own accomplishments.

The study encourages education policy makers to take a look and reconsider the impact of curriculum changes to both male and female students.

Ulrich Trautwein, director of the LEAD Graduate School and Research Network said that the results of their study highlights the significance of systematic accompanying research before, during and after the introduction of educational reforms.

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