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Identifying the psychological processes used by male and female students when learning about science technology engineering and mathematics: A linguistic inquiry

Hall, Sophie S.; Puttick, Steve; Maltby, John

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Authors

SOPHIE HALL Sophie.Hall@nottingham.ac.uk
Clinical Trial Manager

Steve Puttick

John Maltby



Abstract

Learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is challenging, leaving many students to give up on these subjects. Specifically, females are underrepresented in STEM industries. Identifying how male and female students deal with STEM learning challenges, and how this relates to learning outcomes, may inform teaching that best supports the preferences of individual students. This study asked secondary school students, who had just completed a STEM lesson that they reported as finding difficult (n = 3758; male = 51.2%), to write narratives about how they dealt with the lesson. Narratives were analyzed using a linguistic text analysis program to identify core psychological processes contained within the narratives from lessons in science n = 1305 (males = 46.3%), technology n = 589 (males = 63.7%), engineering n = 202 (males = 57.9%), and mathematics n = 1662 (males = 49.9%). Students were also asked to score how well they think they did in the difficult lesson (learning outcome). Pearson's correlations between students' use of core psychological processes and their perceptions of lesson success were computed separately for males and females. Common strategies emerged across the STEM subjects: for female students, positive learning outcomes were associated with positive emotions, social processes, rewards, and strategic thinking. For male students, positive learning outcomes were associated with motivation around the risk of failing, rationalizing the problem, and strategic thinking. Negative emotion was associated with a negative learning outcome for both broadly defined genders, but this was more evident across the subjects for females. We specify our understanding of this strategy by reporting data separately for the STEM subjects and the implications for STEM pedagogy.

Citation

Hall, S. S., Puttick, S., & Maltby, J. (2021). Identifying the psychological processes used by male and female students when learning about science technology engineering and mathematics: A linguistic inquiry. Science Education, 105(6), 1151-1172. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21679

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 18, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2022
Journal Science Education
Print ISSN 0036-8326
Electronic ISSN 1098-237X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 105
Issue 6
Pages 1151-1172
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21679
Keywords History and Philosophy of Science; Education
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/7646185
Publisher URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sce.21679
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hall, S. S., Puttick, S., & Maltby, J. (2021). Identifying the psychological processes used by male and female students when learning about science technology engineering and mathematics: A linguistic inquiry. Science Education, 105, 1151– 1172., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21679. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

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