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Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form. Jim Ridgway jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk. Structure. Outline of PREMA – an EU project UK data on choice and performance Conclusions Actions Introduction to the interviews This school The interview protocol Web of influence.

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making mathematics choices for the 6th form

Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form

Jim Ridgway

jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk

structure
Structure
  • Outline of PREMA – an EU project
  • UK data on choice and performance
  • Conclusions
  • Actions
  • Introduction to the interviews
    • This school
    • The interview protocol
    • Web of influence

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

prema promoting equality in maths achievement
PREMA - Promoting Equality in Maths Achievement

To Understand Women’s Under-representation In STEM

  • Processes of student decision making
  • Pedagogical factors
  • Socio-cultural factors
  • Impact of ICT

http://prema.iacm.forth.gr/main.php

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

research spine
Research Spine
  • Interview policy makers
  • Examine national data on performance
  • Survey attitudes towards mathematics and subject choice in post-compulsory education
    • At school
    • At university

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

research spine cont
Research Spine (Cont.)
  • Interview high attaining students in post-compulsory education about their choices regarding mathematics
    • At school
    • At university
  • Interview mathematics teachers
  • Interview university mathematics lectures
  • Interview women in the early stages of their careers, who either had or had not pursued careers in STEM

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

uk course choices
UK Course Choices
  • A level exam choices

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

national data 2004
National Data 2004

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

national data 20041
National Data 2004

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

survey of attitudes and influences
Survey of Attitudes and Influences

1128 students

aged 17-18 years

8 schools

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Important factors
    • Enjoyment
    • Interest
    • Past success
    • ‘pull factors’ – future career
    • Subject combinations
  • Students claim to be ‘empowered’
  • Girls have more choices AND…

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

conclusions cont
Conclusions (cont.)
  • Mathematics is not very interesting or enjoyable
  • Some professional women were influenced by school ‘women into STEM’ programmes

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

implications for action
Implications For Action
  • Make mathematics interesting and enjoyable
    • More creative; relate contexts to student interests
  • Pedagogy
    • Pay appropriate attention to girls and boys in class
    • Increase the variety of teaching methods
    • Reward effort, engagement and understanding
    • Build student confidence

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

implications for action cont
Implications For Action (Cont.)
  • Communication
    • Careers using mathematics
    • On the implications of different subject choices
    • Wider applications of mathematics
  • Teacher Education
    • Provide information on girls and STEM
    • Provide tools for classroom observation
    • Provoke reflection on practice

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

interviews
Interviews

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

slide22
Xl

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

the school
The School
  • Mixed comprehensive school
  • Popular village in SW England
  • Mainly (not exclusively) middle class
  • Mainly ethnically ‘white English’
  • Excellent OFSTED report
  • Excellent GCSE results
  • High ‘value added’ score
  • Oxbridge entrants every year – high expectation of uni education for most students
  • Broad curriculum - languages, art, sports, and drama, as well as mathematics and science

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

the school cont
The School - cont
  • A dynamic (female) head – ‘outstanding’ says OFSTED
    • E.g. knows most pupils by name
    • Lots of promotions to head teacher from senior staff
  • Lots of pupil work on display around the school
  • Lots of newspaper cuttings showing school events and school successes
  • Ethos - high attainment for all

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

the student sample
The Student sample
  • School
    • A or A* at GCSE mathematics
    • Half doing maths, half not
    • Girls and boys
  • Gerry
  • Becca

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

a open ended exploration of trajectory
A: Open-ended exploration of trajectory
  • How old were you when you decided whether or not you were good at mathematics?
  • contributing factors?
  • Did you make active choices at AS/A2 or just go along with what was expected?
  • Tell me something about why you chose the courses you are now taking.
  • What were the most important factors in deciding to/deciding not to take an advanced course in mathematics?
  • Was taking/not taking an advanced course in mathematics an easy choice, or did you have reservations?
  • Do you think that these factors are different for boys and girls?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

open questions on long term goals
Open Questions on Long term Goals
  • Do you have a career plan in mind?
    • What is it?
    • Why?
    • What contributed to the decision?
  • How would you feel about a career in a maths related area?
    • Good things?
    • Bad things?
  • How do you see your life in 10 years time?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

school experiences
School Experiences
  • Classroom activities
    • What were typical activities in maths classrooms?
  • Classroom Roles
    • If there were girls and boys in class, did they have different roles? [describe]
  • Teacher Behaviour
    • Get different treatment from teachers? [describe]
      • What was YOUR role?
  • Curriculum content
    • The most interesting part of maths was…….. because?
    • The most boring part of maths was…….. because?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

women mathematicians
Women Mathematicians
  • Do you think there have been women mathematicians in history? [names?]
  • Do you think there are famous women mathematicians today? [names?]
  • Why/why not?
  • Did you learn anything about them in your maths lessons?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

teaching
Teaching
  • Some – lets say 3 things that successful maths teachers do
  • 3 things that unsuccessful maths teachers do
  • Were there differences between male and female maths teachers?
  • Give examples

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

successful students
Successful Students
  • 3 things that successful maths students do
  • 3 things that unsuccessful maths students do

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

making mathematics choices for the 6th form1

Making Mathematics Choices for the 6th Form

Jim Ridgway

jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk

survey attitudes and things that influence choices of study
Survey Attitudes And Things That Influence Choices Of Study
  • Enjoyment
  • Past performance
  • Competence using computers
  • ‘Mathematical identities’
  • Long term plans
  • Personal influences – parents, teachers, friends
  • ‘Resilience factors’

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

interviews i with high performers qualified to take more maths
Interviews I – With High Performers Qualified To Take More Maths
  • Typical lessons, and uses of ICT
  • Interest and enjoyment
  • Girls’ and boys’ roles
  • Socio-cultural questions
  • Actions of successful and unsuccessful teachers
  • Actions of successful and unsuccessful students

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

interviews ii with high performers qualified to take more maths
Interviews II – With High Performers Qualified To Take More Maths
  • Development of mathematical identity
  • Choices available; actually made; reasons
  • Influences: parents, siblings, teachers, friends
  • Long term plans
  • What makes you good at maths and [X]?
  • Why do you work hard at maths and [X]?

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

interviews iii with high performers qualified to take more maths
Interviews III – With High Performers Qualified To Take More Maths
  • Analyses
    • Socio-cultural factors
    • Pedagogical factors
    • Impact of the digital divide
  • Understanding decision making
    • Motivation theories
    • Identity theories
    • Ego-defence theories
    • Gender theories

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

influencing women s under representation in stem
Influencing Women’s Under-representation In STEM
  • Strategies to influence
    • Socio-cultural factors
    • Pedagogical factors
    • Impact of the digital divide
  • Strategies to influence decision making
    • Motivation theories
    • Identity theories
    • Ego-defence theories
    • Gender theories
  • Ambitions for PREMA: some sharing; maybe some strategic initiatives

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

uk policy iv
UK Policy IV

Actions in the UK?

  • More good teachers
  • None traditional subject combinations – with music, art etc.
  • A more exciting curriculum
  • More choice within mathematics
  • Perhaps reform university teaching
  • EU initiatives should set out to share effective practices where relevant and applicable in local cultural contexts

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

slide39
Interviews with 20 high attaining girls and boys about choices to take or not take a maths course

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

conclusions from interviews i
Conclusions From Interviews I
  • Socio-cultural factors
    • Surprising absence of stereotypes
  • Pedagogical factors
    • Descriptions of weak gender effects
    • Strong emphasis on the quality of teacher explanation
    • Strong emphasis on student effort and understanding
  • Impact of the digital divide
    • ICT hardly used in mathematics; seen as irrelevant

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

implications for action1
Implications For Action
  • Curriculum reform
    • towards more enjoyable and creative mathematics
  • Pedagogy
    • reward effort, engagement and understanding
  • Communication
    • Wider applications of mathematics
    • Careers using mathematics
    • On the implications of different subject choices

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

national initiatives
National Initiatives

Very big national differences

England views this as a priority;

In some other countries it was hard to get policy makers interested

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

pedagogical factors
Pedagogical Factors
  • Curriculum structures and materials
  • Teacher perceptions of boys and girls
  • Student perceptions of boys and girls
  • Perceptions of good teaching
  • Perceptions of a good student
  • Socio-cultural factors
  • Impact of ICT

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

curriculum structures and materials
Curriculum Structures and Materials
  • Big National Differences
    • e.g Poland
      • Gendered courses (cookery vs woodwork)
      • Portrayal of men and women in textbooks
    • e.g. Austria
      • Not so

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

teacher perceptions of boys and girls i
Teacher Perceptions of Boys and Girls I
  • Big national differences
    • (Poland) belief in inherent differences
      • Girls are worse at logical thinking
      • Should girls really go into STEM?
    • Austria and England - none

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

teacher perceptions of boys and girls ii
Teacher Perceptions of Boys and Girls II
  • Consensus that Girls…
    • are less confident
    • ask fewer questions
    • answer fewer questions
    • are less disruptive
    • work harder
    • Are better at detail
    • want to get good grades
  • Big national differences in strength of beliefs

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

student perceptions of boys and girls i
Student Perceptions of Boys and Girls I
  • Girls
    • Study more
    • Try to be good in all subjects
    • Are more systematic
    • Are less disruptive
    • Answer fewer questions
  • Big national differences in strength of beliefs

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

perceptions of good teaching
Perceptions of Good Teaching
  • Generic
    • Good explanation
    • Good subject knowledge
  • Little agreement on good activities
    • (group work, discussions etc.)

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

perceptions of a good student
Perceptions of a Good Student
  • Generic
    • Work hard
    • Learn for understanding

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

socio cultural factors
Socio-cultural Factors
  • Very big national differencesPoland<>England
    • Beliefs in essential differences
    • Political campaigns
    • Parent pressure or support for autonomy
    • Supportive or unsupportive employment legislation

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

pedagogical factors1
Pedagogical Factors
  • Portrayal in texts
  • Gendered courses (cookery vs woodwork)
  • School behaviour
    • Work hard, persist, engage, are systematic and neat, help friends
  • Classroom behaviour
    • Disrupt, volunteer, ask questions, are diligent, competitive
  • Teacher beliefs (Poland) in inherent differences
  • Teacher questioning

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

understanding decision making
Understanding: Decision Making
  • ‘Pull’ and rational decision making are common claims
  • Big national differences in the perceived influences of parents, other students, cultural influences such as the acceptability of a ‘career woman’

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

impact of ict
Impact Of ICT
  • Computer studies is ‘masculine’
  • ICT not much used in mathematics
  • ICT not much expected in mathematics
  • ICT has no effect on students’ relationship with mathematics

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

implications for action2
Implications For Action
  • Monitoring educational changes
    • STEM and the rest
  • Engaging policy makers (e.g. Greece, France)
  • Better employment legislation
  • Revised curricula (school and university)
    • the rest, as well as STEM
      • content and pedagogy

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

implications for action i
Implications For Action I
  • Policy makers should address the flight from STEM
  • Monitor educational changes
    • STEM and the rest
  • Sexist curriculum materials and practices should be changed

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

implications for action iv
Implications For Action IV
  • Influence Socio-cultural factors
  • Political awareness of the differences in attainment and career choices by men and women – and the financial implications
  • Publicise distinguished women mathematicians
  • Look for and remove stereotyped images in text books

jim.ridgway@dur.ac.uk

making mathematics choices in the 6th form

Making Mathematics Choices in the 6th Form

Jim Ridgway

jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk