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Exploring Gaps in STEM Education

I Crunch Data- Anne G. Barretta

“Art may be the key entry point to STEM, especially for girls, according to a new survey released today on the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)-based activities for children. Two Bit Circus, an engineering entertainment company, surveyed a recent audience of more than 500 parents to understand gender differentiators in how children play and learn in relation to STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activities.”(more)

Traumatic stress changes brains of boys, girls differently

Science Daily – Staff Writer

” Traumatic stress affects the brains of adolescent boys and girls differently, according to a new brain-scanning study. Among youth with post-traumatic stress disorder, the study found structural differences between the sexes in one part of the insula, a brain region that detects cues from the body and processes emotions and empathy. The insula helps to integrate one’s feelings, actions and several other brain functions.”(more)

Gender gaps in math persist, with teachers underrating girls’ math skills

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Beginning in early elementary school, boys outperform girls in math — especially among the highest achievers — continuing a troubling pattern found in the late 1990s, finds a new analysis led by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The study, published in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, also shows that teachers give lower ratings to girls’ math skills when girls and boys have similar achievement and behavior. In addition, using two national datasets gathered more than a decade apart, this study finds that teachers’ lower ratings of girls are likely contributing to the growth in the gender gap in math.”(more)

Who’s to Blame for the Gender Gap in STEM? Start With Kindergarten Teachers

Fortune – Valentina Zarya

“The gender gap in STEM starts earlier—much earlier—than you think. According to new research, the disparity between boys’ and girls’ mathematical abilities actually begins in kindergarten. The study, which was published in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, focused on groups of children starting kindergarten and tracked them several years into their education. The researchers found that while pupils of both genders entered school with similar math abilities, girls started to fall within the first year of their schooling. This contrary to the commonly-held notion that the gap in STEM skills starts to appear in middle school.”(more)

Rallying Interest In STEAM Education Starts With A Message Of Inclusivity

The Huffington Post – Marcy Klevorn

“As the daughter of the man who co-invented the world’s first adjustable shock absorber, I grew up with engineering as an ever-present part of my daily life. Going to amusement parks meant inspecting the hydraulics before riding the coasters. Chores included assembling shock absorber catalogues. And when my dad’s German and Russian business partners came over for dinner, I was always invited to the table. Those gestures of inclusion gave me great confidence throughout my life. What’s more, I’ve come to learn that the messages we send and receive, consciously or not, are vitally important in shaping what we believe to be possible. Anything can be positive or negative depending on the way it’s communicated. When it comes to STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and math), I fear that too often the messages and examples are not coming from diverse role models. As a result, we exclude a large percentage of kids from becoming interested in these subjects at a young age, when it’s most important.”(more)

Investing in girls could unlock billions of dollars for national economies : U.N. agency

Reuters – Zoe Tabary

“Around the world, 16 million girls between the ages of six and 11 never start school, many because they are married off or forced to work to help their families financially, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in a report. It said developing countries could reap a dividend of $21 billion a year if all 10-year-old girls completed secondary education, echoing studies that show a correlation between improved literacy for girls and higher earnings later in life. “Education is the world’s best investment. Whenever a girl’s potential goes unrealized, we all lose,” Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.”(more)