Teachers biased against girls in math

April 9, 2012 at 8:10 PM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, April 9 (UPI) -- Bias on the part of high school math teachers is hampering girls who want to study mathematics, an analysis of a U.S. educational study found.

Researchers analyzing data collected in a national Educational Longitudinal Study in 2002 said teachers tend to rate white girls' math abilities lower than those of white male students even when the girls' grades and test scores are comparable to boys, LiveScience.com reported Monday.

"We find evidence of a consistent bias against white females, which although relatively small in magnitude, suggests that teachers hold the belief that math is just easier for white males than it is for white females," the researchers from the University of Texas reported in the journal Gender & Society.

In the national study, math teachers were asked to indicate whether they thought students were enrolled in classes that fit their abilities, were too easy or too difficult.

"The bias teachers reveal against white female students may very well be something they are not consciously aware of, but it's usually subtle," researcher Catherine Riegle-Crumb in a university release. "But it's definitely present, per our research findings."

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