For nearly all of us in engineering and science, math is something we had to work hard at to improve. It didn’t come easily. Ask my mom about the C+ I got in math class in 6th grade.
Many students and parents don’t realize that becoming good at math usually takes work – and a lot of it. They think that you have math chops, or you don’t. And that’s the end of it.
As FSU’s Lara Perez-Felkner and her research team have found, girls are more often discouraged than boys by the perception that math ability is just something you’re born with, and that you can’t get better by working hard. And this tendency of girls to become discouraged more than boys may contribute a great deal to the severe underrepresentation of women in fields like physics, engineering, computer science and math, where women earn 20% or less of the bachelors’ degrees awarded.
The remedy? Convince girls that they can get better at math by working hard at it.
Read more about the study at Science 2.0.