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Series ended

Investigating the Importance of Girls' Math Identity: A Systematic Review

About the series


FHI 360 conducted a systematic review to generate a comprehensive understanding of girls’ math identity to better understand: (a) how math identity is associated with girls' participation, engagement, and achievement in mathematics; (b) the important factors related to girls’ math identity; and (c) effective strategies for developing strong math identities within girls. We identified 76 articles that examined math identity for girls in pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education. This presentation will discuss the review, its findings and its implications for research and practice. For example, our review suggests that positive girls’ math identity was consistently linked with increased performance, participation and persistence in mathematics.  Identified factors affecting girls’ math identity included the role of parental attitudes and beliefs; math stereotypes, gender roles and identities; peer, school, or community influences; and mathematics anxiety.  Strategies to increase math identity included the uses of constructivist learning programs, gender mix within classrooms, mentoring and role models, combatting stereotype threat, parental and teacher encouragement, and promoting connections between mathematics course work and future careers. 


Merle Froschl, Director of Educational Equity at FHI 360, has more than 35 years experience in education and publishing, developing innovative programs and materials that foster equality of opportunity for students regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, disability, or level of family income. She provides leadership and oversight to projects that include curriculum development, professional development, parent education, research and evaluation. Prior to coming to FHI 360, Ms. Froschl was Co-Founder and Co-Director of Educational Equity Concepts, a national nonprofit organization whose mission was to create bias-free programs and materials beginning in early childhood. Since the 1970s she has developed outstanding curricular and teacher training models in the field of educational equity and STEM and is a nationally-known speaker on issues of gender equity and equality of opportunity in education. She is the author and co-author of numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Felix Fernandez, PhD, Principal Research Scientist at FHI 360, has over a decade of experience in mixed method evaluation designs, program evaluation, and educational interventions. Dr. Fernandez has conducted evaluation research on technology integration, education technologies, teacher professional development, dropout prevention, and student access, in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary setting with specific interest towards at-risk populations. He is well-versed in mixed-method evaluations that rely on existing data sources and case studies to document and inform baseline conditions, as well as provide in-depth analyses of best practices.

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