Mathematics has a girl problem. Although girls achieve at equal levels to boys in middle and high school, many girls stop taking math as soon as they can. Girls are also much less likely than boys to enter math-intensive college majors and, later, careers. Gender researchers have shown that the root of this girl problem is not differences in innate math skills, but rather the contexts in which students learn math—contexts that give girls less encouragement and less confidence in their math abilities. Eager to address this girl problem, educators and policymakers usually respond: okay, so how do we fix the girls? But, according to Jo Boaler, it’s the math classrooms, not the girls, which really need fixing.
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