WHY WE DO IT
Social and environmental factors often shape achievement and interest in STEM among girls. Therefore, growth mindset benefits girls in math, particularly when negative stereotypes persist about their abilities in the subject area. Dr. Carol Dweck's research proves that believing in the potential for academic growth improves outcomes. Since encountering challenging problems and obstacles is a component of mathematical work, these research findings are critical for girls in STEM. Girls in STEM tend to perform better on math tests when they learn that their intelligence can increase with experience. When girls experience growth in their math skills, they are more likely to develop or maintain an interest in math long-term.
Research by Dr. Shelley Correll shows that boys often assess their math abilities higher than girls regardless of their performance level. Whereas girls regardless of how well they perform in math tend to show lower confidence in viewing themselves as a mathematician. As a result, women in their first year of college are less likely than men to express desire in majoring in a STEM field. Therefore, only approximately 25% of STEM positions are held by women. Worse, overall women of color progress in earning a bachelor degree in a STEM field has stalled or reversed within the last ten years.
Of the fastest growing occupations, 75% of them require significant mathematics or science preparation. While 78% of school-aged girls have an interest in STEM, women only make up 25% of the STEM workforce (Census Bureau, 2009). Worse, women of color make up a smaller share of this population.
Regardless of one’s background or career aspirations, everyone will use math in real life especially as an adult when making financial decisions. However, only 17 states require students to take a high school personal finance course. According to an international financial literacy assessment given to 15-year olds, students from the United States fell on the lowest end of the core proficiency skills scale compared to other countries (OECD, 2014).
Only 33 percent of eighth graders in the U.S. scored at or above proficient in math and those from low-income backgrounds performed worse (NAEP, 2015). Studies show that other countries are outpacing the United States in math achievement. The United States placed 35th out of 64 countries in math on one of the biggest cross-national tests (PISA, 2012).
PERSONAL GROWTH CONNECTION
Girls that believe in their ability to achieve goals view challenges and mistakes as a prerequisite to acquiring the skills needed to succeed in life, work, and citizenship.