Sunday, February 9, 2020

The neoliberal pressures in the form of raising achievement benchmarks contributes to the reversal of the gender gap in physics & computer science courses, having less girls in STEM

Explaining a reverse gender gap in advanced physics and computer science course‐taking: An exploratory case study comparing Hebrew‐speaking and Arabic‐speaking high schools in Israel. Halleli Pinson  Yariv Feniger  Yael Barak. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, January 30 2020.

Abstract: In the past three decades in high‐income countries, female students have outperformed male students in most indicators of educational attainment. However, the underrepresentation of girls and women in science courses and careers, especially in physics, computer sciences, and engineering, remains persistent. What is often neglected by the vast existing literature is the role that schools, as social institutions, play in maintaining or eliminating such gender gaps. This explorative case study research compares two high schools in Israel: one Hebrew‐speaking state school that serves mostly middleclass students and exhibits a typical gender gap in physics and computer science; the other, an Arabic‐speaking state school located in a Bedouin town that serves mostly students from a lower socioeconomic background. In the Arabic‐speaking school over 50% of the students in the advanced physics and computer science classes are females. The study aims to explain this seemingly counterintuitive gender pattern with respect to participation in physics and computer science. A comparison of school policies regarding sorting and choice reveals that the two schools employ very different policies that might explain the different patterns of participation. The Hebrew‐speaking school prioritizes self‐fulfillment and “free‐choice,” while in the Arabic‐speaking school, staff are much more active in sorting and assigning students to different curricular programs. The qualitative analysis suggests that in the case of the Arabic‐speaking school the intersection between traditional and collectivist society and neoliberal pressures in the form of raising achievement benchmarks contributes to the reversal of the gender gap in physics and computer science courses.

Check also Disentangling physics from the norms of patriarchal white supremacy must begin with an honest accounting of the roots of the Western scientific project in the project of slavery:
Making Black Women Scientists under White Empiricism: The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Signs, 2020, vol. 45, no. 2.
And The harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women; restrictions on grading policies that equalize average grades across classes helps to close the STEM gender gap as well as increasing overall enrollment:
Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors. Thomas Ahn, Peter Arcidiacono, Amy Hopson, James R. Thomas. NBER Working Paper No. 26556. December 2019.

Pictorial Cigarette Pack Warnings Increase Some Risk Appraisals But Not Risk Beliefs

Pictorial Cigarette Pack Warnings Increase Some Risk Appraisals But Not Risk Beliefs: A Meta-Analysis. Seth M Noar, Jacob A Rohde, Joshua O Barker, Marissa G Hall, Noel T Brewer. Human Communication Research, hqz016, February 3 2020.

Abstract: Pictorial warnings on cigarette packs motivate smokers to quit, and yet the warnings’ theoretical mechanisms are not clearly understood. To clarify the role that risk appraisals play in pictorial warnings’ impacts, we conducted a meta-analysis of the experimental literature. We meta-analyzed 57 studies, conducted in 13 countries, with a cumulative N of 42,854. Pictorial warnings elicited greater cognitive elaboration (e.g., thinking about the risks of smoking; d = 1.27; p < .001) than text-only warnings. Pictorial warnings also elicited more fear and other negative affect (d = .60; p < .001). In contrast, pictorial warnings had no impact on perceived likelihood of harm (d = .03; p = .064), perceived severity (d = .16; p = .244), or experiential risk (d = .06; p = .449). Thus, while pictorial warnings increase affective and some cognitive risk appraisals, they do not increase beliefs about disease risk. We discuss the role of negative affect in warning effectiveness and the implications for image selection and warning implementation.