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April 9, 2021: TECHNIQUES TO ALLEVIATE GENDER PERFORMANCE GAPS

Happy Friday before “spring break” CNS Instructors,

This week’s teaching tip comes from and article titled “What Is Your Class Telling You? on the University of Washington Trends and Issues in Higher Ed website Innovators Archive page. The article focuses on techniques to improve gender equity in classes.  The author Ben Wiggins is faculty coordinator for instruction and a biology lecturer.  Wiggins and other instructors developed strategies to counteract achievement and participation gaps between male and female students in biology uncovered by research with colleagues (Eddy et al. 2014 and Grunspan et al. 2016).  They conducted social network analyses asking students who were strong students in their course. Their findings uncovered a bias toward male students in courses with significantly more female than male students.  The male students’ perceptions of who were strong students did not jive with actual performance.  Male students tended to nominate male students as strong students while female students were generally unbiased. Allowing this negative stereotype help by male students to persist will likely result in accumulation across their college careers and into the workforce. The article provides three suggestions to minimize the gender gap in your class:

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