Singapore school girls are challenging stereotyped views about maths ability.

Editorial Summary of "Math achievement, stereotypes, and math concepts among elementary school students in Singapore."

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A research study led by Dario Cvencek about math self-concepts and ability in boys and girls called: “Math achievement, stereotypes, and math concepts among elementary school students in Singapore” reported that both Singaporean boys and girls were high achievers in maths. 299 children (152 girls and 147 boys from years 1, 3, and 5) were selected at random to participate in simple tests. The results revealed that despite girls not possessing a strong “math self-concept” they still achieved just as well as the boys did. 

The research paper showed an individuals perception about their math abilities (math self-concept) begins quite early, with socio-cultural factors playing an important role in reinforcing ways of thinking, for example, boys are better at maths than girls are. Singaporean school girls appear to rally against this stereotypical thinking and achieve high results in maths. 

Interestingly, the paper mentions the relationship between math self-concept and achievement in girls can have implications for their future education and career choices, especially in STEM fields.

However, the researchers recommend the negative stereotypical thinking girls persistently express about mathematical ability can be halted through intervention. For example, introduce positive mathematical approaches and reward students for their efforts in the classroom. 

The research article was published here in the Learning and Instruction Journal.

Thank you to Professor Andrew Meltzoff for providing this resource.

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I am based in Queensland, Australia, and have an interesting portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications in science research and content creation.