Research Study on Gender Bias in Education

10 October 2016

These instructions were used as a form of deception to prove my hypothesis. My hypothesis was that women would be more affected by this deception than would the men. My results proved otherwise. Results showed there was little difference in the way the women and men performed on these tests on either version. The ANOVA testing showed these clear results. Does Performance Reflect Success? Gender biases are present in the American culture. Women are put in a stereotype as the one to stay at home cleaning and cooking while men are believed to have to bring home the paychecks. How we live though is not the only area with gender biases.

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There are biases when it comes to sports, who can do what jobs and even education. Women are believed to be better at the education aspects having to do with words and comprehension while men are believed to be better at numbers or math. In the research world there is much controversy on whether the bias presented is true or not. Researchers have not been able to support this belief or disregard it due to the many conflicting results. A study done with the purpose of determining whether gender expectations still exist in present time, resulted in the idea that more and more genders are becoming equal in education (Jordan 2008).

It was found that both sexes are more likely than ever to complete their high school education and even be able to obtain higher degree. The study also showed the gender gap in scores on the National Association of Education Progress becoming more and more narrow over time. Jordan does not refute the idea of gender bias in education but supported the idea that it is diminishing. These two researchers on the other hand, Fisher (2008) and Johnston (2005), have studies supporting their beliefs that gender biases in teaching are simply a myth.

Both constructed research to support the idea that neither females nor males perform differently according to gender expectation or that these gender expectations are implemented at all. Fisher more, specifically, researching in math and Johnston in math and education. Chapman (2012) and Goetz (1996) though, both have studies that seem to prove otherwise. Chapman conducted a study, in Canada, which lead to the belief that gender discrepancies in teaching and education focus more positively on females. Chapman believes males are the ones taking losses in education expectancies.

Goetz on the other hand, researched and came up with results which led him to believe American educators focus their attention more on males allowing them a positive advantage. After learning so much from previous research it can be accurately inferred that the gender bias in education does exist. A psychologist, Ghandi (2006) stated in his study the truth behind the bias. He used this truth to conduct a study in which he found that women not only believe the bias but are subject to it when they are told they will fail due to their gender.

This particular study is what laid down the foundation for my research study. All of the above researchers knew the biased existed and all tried to support it or disprove it. This research project has one purpose; to find out not if gender biases exist but whether women are affected by these gender based expectations more than men. In many colleges and universities women are very comfortable with their gender; they are powerful, and successful. There are clubs devoted to women’s sexuality, success, and even fashion senses.

There are awards given to women who have gotten superior grades, been offered great jobs, or are simply a success. Knowing this, what I want to learn is whether these women who are so highly praised and allowed the same success as men are still subjects to gender based expectations, more specifically in learning and education. In my study I will be deceiving the participants into thinking that only women will be successful in this study or to another group I will be saying only men will be successful. The way this will be done is by using simple high school level math tests. Before he test I will be falsely informing half of my participants (equal number of females and males) that only men will pass this test, and then I will repeat this with the other half of my participants but falsely informing them of the opposite. The fact that I will play on women’s vulnerability will allow me to learn whether these very empowered and successful women will still be so after being told they will fail before even trying. My hypothesis is that these women will be affected by such a statistic and depending on the false statistic they get, they will fulfill it. Methods Participants

Forty eight undergraduate volunteers (24 males and 24 females) from Bryant University took part in this study. The average age of participants was recorded at 20. 22 years (SD=1. 13). No cultural or ethnic backgrounds were recorded. With help from different psychology professors a general description was given out within psychology classes and volunteers were recruited. To these participants in particular extra credit was allotted. The rest of the participants were recruited through word of mouth and e-mail in which they were once again given a general description of the study and asked whether they would be willing to volunteer.

Each participant was tested individually and required approximately 15 minutes to complete study. Materials The study consisted of participants completing a standardized math test, four survey questions, and a deceptive article which can all be found in the appendix. The math test was found in an SAT math test practice site. This math test worked as the channel for the dependent variable (result on the test). The survey questions asked were simply used for collecting information. The questions did not ask sensitive information or anything that would put any participant at risk.

Finally, the short article was written by myself and is completely fictional. It falsely informed the participants on information regarding SAT tests and reported false statistics on men outperforming women for half of the studies and the opposite for the other half. This was used as the deception part of the research which inconspicuously provided the participant with the independent variable (whether females or males pass this test) Procedures Forty eight students were recruited (24 females and 24 males) from Bryant University as the participants of my study.

They were all recruited through psychology classes in which Professors gave a brief overview of what my study entailed and from there proceeded to recruit. The participants recruited in such a manner were rewarded with extra credit points in their class. The rest of the participants were recruited through word of mouth and group e-mails. With each participant recruited I have a brief explanation of what the study was comprised of, what it entailed, and more specifically what each participant would have to contribute. Once I recruited all participants which were necessary I began the research itself.

At the start of their participation, each participant was handed a consent for in which they were asked to read thoroughly and if they agreed to the terms and conditions they were to sign and date. In the consent form participants were informed of their ability to leave the study at any time, their entitlement to any information and debriefing, on the confidentiality of the study and many more safety factors. To show the validity of the form I signed and dated on the same page each participant did right in front of them.

Each participant agreed to the consent form allowing the study to continue. Once the consent form process was finished I would hand each participant the study packet. At this point they were told that each study was to be completed alone. The packet started off with an article which was entirely false and used to deceive each participant. On it there was made up information on the performance of genders on the SAT test throughout the past years. Each participant was informed that they would not be able to continue with the packet if they did not read these instructions.

Once the instructions were read each participant could continue to the next section which consisted of the survey questions. These questions were purely used to collect data for analysis. Once the second part was completed each participant would continue on to the math portion of this study. The math portion of the test was a high school level standardized math test previously tested by college level participants. Each participant completed the math portion and would come to me to hand it in. when each individual would approach me I made sure to let them know the true nature of the study and informed them of the deceit.

It was very important that no participant left the study with the false idea of one gender outperforming the other. I made sure each participant was thoroughly debriefed and had any questions they had answered. Results The data were analyzed using an ANOVA with the alpha level set at . 05. The main effect of gender participation was not significant, ? (1,44)=. 12, p=. 73, ? 2=. 003 and the main effect of gender test taking was not significant, ? (1,44)=. 00, p=1. 0, ? 2=. 00. However, the interaction between the gender participation and gender test was marginally significant, ? (1,44)=2. 97, p=. 9, ? 2=. 06. Figure 1 shows a cross-over interaction in which the two variables almost perfectly interact. My hypothesis stated that women’s scores would be more affected by the test gender and the deception then would the men’s. The results of the tests did not vary according to the gender of the participant or gender of the test. My hypothesis was not supported by the above data. There was, however, a notable factor in the results and the fact that they were similar in score for both genders. Discussion No significant main effect for test gender or participant gender occurred in this study.

When taking a math test right after reading a deceitful article about the tendency of males or females to outperform the opposite sex, neither gender’s score seemed to be affected. This particular result is not what I predicted in my original hypothesis. Straying away from my belief that women would underperform the men once they were deceived into believing they would be outperformed, the results disproved my hypothesis. This outcome is consistent with the research of Fisher (2008) and Johnston (2005) in finding there is no significant gab in the performance of females and males in the subject of math.

The results are not consistent though with those findings by Ghandi (2006) a researcher whose findings state that women do poorly on math when they are told their gender is to blame. Some factors which may have led to the inconsistency between my hypothesis and my results can be attributed to the limitation when conducting this research. Being part of such a small university, my research was very limited in the sample size it could use. Three thousand undergraduate students was a small population to choose just forty eight participants from.

This also lead to what I believe was a biased sample since each and every participant was also my friend. The fact that the participants had a relationship with me could have caused an over performance level which would not usually happen. Some internal validity which should be looked at was the fact that many variables were simply not recorded. These factors include the race and ethnicity of the participant, whether English was their native language, if they understood the deceiving article in the start, and whether they understood every question asked in the math portion.

Another internal validity factor is the way in which data was recorded. If this study were to be repeated, observation should definitely be an alternative way of recording data. There was so much happening as I observed each and every participant complete my study. Participants would get frustrated or smile the whole way through. Sometimes they would try to help each other out when I looked the other way or simply just guessed the answers since they did not want to be taking a math test.

Using a standardized that does not give anything in return to these participants, should not have been my only source of data since it was not the best way to find results. Regardless of the limitations, new studies and research in the field of gender differences in education have resulted with outcomes very similar to mine. Although my hypothesis was not supported, the consistency it has with the studies of Fisher (2008) and Johnston (2005) only come to show that this study will be supporting much research in the psychology world.

My results will be one more way to support the idea that there is little or no difference in gender performance in math. In addition to replicating my results, future research might extend the finding by examining other subjects in the world of education. Expanding the testing to be possibly in language, critical thinking, sciences and also math may give a better understanding on whether there is a discrepancy in women’s performance when they are told they are going to fail. Future research might also want to expand their sample by moving to younger generations in school, possibly in igh school, and older generations in and out of school. By doing so the outcome may result more accurately and allow a better understanding of the prediction. In conclusion, gender performance on standardized math tests do not have a direct link to the subject or the belief that one gender will outperform the other. After testing 48 participants (24 female and 24 male), giving each the same exact standardized math test but deceiving each to think they would outperform or underperform the opposite sex, no gender seemed to truly outperform. Each gender resulted close to equal.

The results did not support my hypothesis but it led the way to a new hypothesis and a completely new approach to this study. References Goetz, J. (1996). In Education Expert: Classroom Gender Bias Persists. Cornell Cronicle. Retrieved from http://www. news. cornell. edu/chronicle/96/4. 25. 96/gender. html. Jordan, J (2008) The Myth of Gender Bias in School. Retrieved March 8, 2012. From http://www. parentdish. com/2008/05/20/the-myth-of-gender-bias-in-school/ Fisher, M (2008) Study: No gender differences in math performance. University of Wisconsin-Madison News. Retrieved from http://www. news. wisc. edu/15412

Johnston, T (2005) No evidence of innate gender differences in math and science, scholars assert. Stanford University News. Retrieved from http://news. stanford. edu/news/2005/february9/math-020905. html Gandhi, U. (2006) Gender bias in math skills doesn’t add up, scientists say. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www. theglobeandmail. com/news/technology/science/article197902. ece Chapman, A. (2012) Gender bias in education. Research Room. Retrieved from http://www. edchange. org/multicultural/papers/genderbias. html Table 1 Cross over interaction [pic] Appendix Survey questions Male/ Female (circle one)

Date of Birth __________ Anticipated graduation year __________ Have you ever taken a standardized test (example: SAT) Math questions (standardized test) http://www. majortests. com/sat/problem-solving-test01 1. Of the following, which is greater than ? ? [pic]A. 2/5 [pic]B. 4/7 [pic]C. 4/9 [pic]D. 5/11 [pic]E. 6/13 2. If an object travels at five feet per second, how many feet does it travel in one hour? [pic]A. 30 [pic]B. 300 [pic]C. 720 [pic]D. 1800 [pic]E. 18000 3. What is the average (arithmetic mean) of all the multiples of ten from 10 to 190 inclusive? [pic]A. 90 [pic]B. 95 [pic]C. 100 [pic]D. 105 pic]E. 110 4. A cubical block of metal weighs 6 pounds. How much will another cube of the same metal weigh if its sides are twice as long? [pic]A. 48 [pic]B. 32 [pic]C. 24 [pic]D. 18 [pic]E. 12 5. In a class of 78 students 41 are taking French, 22 are taking German and 9 students are taking both French and German. How many students are not enrolled in either course? [pic]A. 6 [pic]B. 15 [pic]C. 24 [pic]D. 33 [pic]E. 54 6. If f(x) = ¦(x? – 50)¦, what is the value of f(-5) ? [pic]A. 75 [pic]B. 25 [pic]C. 0 [pic]D. -25 [pic]E. -75 7. ( v2 – v3 )? = [pic]A. 5 – 2v6 [pic]B. 5 – v6 [pic]C. 1 – 2v6 [pic]D. 1 – v2 pic]E. 1 8. 230 + 230 + 230 + 230 = [pic]A. 8120 [pic]B. 830 [pic]C. 232 [pic]D. 230 [pic]E. 226 [pic] 9. Amy has to visit towns B and C in any order. The roads connecting these towns with her home are shown on the diagram. How many different routes can she take starting from A and returning to A, going through both B and C (but not more than once through each) and not travelling any road twice on the same trip? [pic]A. 10 [pic]B. 8 [pic]C. 6 [pic]D. 4 [pic]E. 2 [pic] 10. In the figure above AD = 4, AB = 3 and CD = 9. What is the area of triangle AEC ? [pic]A. 18 [pic]B. 13. 5 [pic]C. 9 [pic]D. 4. 5 [pic]E. 3

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