New Teaching Method Can Lower the Gender Gap in Mathematics Test Scores for Young Boys and Girls

Lang-LauraA study led by Laura Lang, associate professor of educational leadership and policy at Florida State University in Tallahassee, has found that a new method for teaching mathematics can improve mathematics tests scores and lessen the gender gap in test results between young boys and girls. The study involved 5,000 kindergarten and first grade students at 31 schools across Florida

The new teaching method uses what is called the “Mathematics Formative Assessment System (MFAS).” Teachers are instructed to ask students to explain their problem-solving strategies and then tailor further instruction to address specific gaps in their understanding.

Dr. Lang stated that “the randomized field trial showed that students in classes where teachers used MFAS were well ahead of other students taught by teachers using more traditional approaches. In kindergarten students learned at a rate equivalent to an extra six weeks of instruction. In first grade the gains were even better. It was if we extended the school year without actually adding any more days to it.”

Dr. Lang is a graduate of the University of Florida. She holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in educational leadership from Florida State University.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/StudySTEM Fields


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