Article

Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 11/2010; 330(6008):1234-7. DOI: 10.1126/science.1195996
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

In many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, women are outperformed by men in test scores, jeopardizing
their success in science-oriented courses and careers. The current study tested the effectiveness of a psychological intervention,
called values affirmation, in reducing the gender achievement gap in a college-level introductory physics class. In this randomized
double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week
course. Values affirmation reduced the male-female performance and learning difference substantially and elevated women's
modal grades from the C to B range. Benefits were strongest for women who tended to endorse the stereotype that men do better
than women in physics. A brief psychological intervention may be a promising way to address the gender gap in science performance
and learning.

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    • "Así, Cohen, García, Apfel y Master (2006) y Cohen, García, Purdie-Vaughns, Apfel y Brzustoski (2009) buscaron reducir la brecha racial en el desempeño de los estudiantes afroamericanos y euroamericanos en los últimos años de secundaria, mientras que Aronson, Fried y Good (2002) y Walton y Cohen (2011a) lo intentaron con minorías étnicas universitarias. Por su lado, Miyake et al. (2010) también trataron de disminuir una brecha, esta vez de género, en el aprendizaje y el desempeño en una clase de ciencias. Por su parte, Blackwell, Trzesniewski y Dweck (2007) y Hulleman y Harackiewicz (2009) buscaron aumentar el desempeño de los estudiantes con más dificultades académicas. "
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    • "There is evidence that self-affirmation eliminates or reduces the performance detriment that usually results from stereotype threat (Martens et al., 2006). Self-affirmation can have surprisingly lasting consequences: in one study, writing about their most important values twice at the beginning of a 15-week college course in physics reduced the gender gap considerably and elevated the modal grade of women from C to B (Miyake et al., 2010). In the scientific arena, affirmation can again invoke the fact that scientists enjoy considerable trust in the population at large. "
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