Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

Women’s Sense of Belonging in Undergraduate Calculus and the Influence of (Inter)Active Learning Opportunities

Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Volume 6, Issue 2, May 2023, pp. 65-82
OPEN ACCESS VIEWS: 519 DOWNLOADS: 419 Publication date: 15 May 2023
ABSTRACT
Women continue to be underrepresented in undergraduate STEM majors. Prior studies identify sense of belonging, or the extent to which one feels like an accepted member of an academic community, as a key contributor to women’s decisions to stick with or leave their STEM majors. Calculus can be an especially critical leak in the STEM pipeline, as is often seen as a gatekeeper course for STEM majors. Historically, Calculus instruction has been primarily lecture-based, though recently, efforts have shifted toward incorporating instruction that supports active learning. Prior studies have suggested that providing active learning opportunities may support students’ sense of belonging. However, there lacks consensus on the particular types of active learning opportunities that best support students. This mixed methods study investigates connections between women’s sense of belonging and the learning opportunities they experience during the first semester of a two-semester Calculus course designed to provide frequent active learning opportunities. Findings indicate a significant increase in sense of belonging, perceived competence, and social connectedness from Week 1 to Week 7 of the semester. Further, women overwhelmingly identified the interactive nature of group work and interactive lecture as supportive of their sense of belonging for both academic and social reasons.
KEYWORDS
calculus, gender, undergraduate education, sense of belonging
CITATION (APA)
Griffin, C. R. (2023). Women’s Sense of Belonging in Undergraduate Calculus and the Influence of (Inter)Active Learning Opportunities. Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 6(2), 65-82. https://doi.org/10.31756/jrsmte.622
REFERENCES
  1. Anderman, L. H. (2003). Academic and social perceptions as predictors of change in middle school students’ sense of school belonging. The Journal of Experimental Education, 72(1), 5–22. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1080/00220970309600877
  2. Antonio, A. L., Chang, M. J., Hakuta, K., Kenny, D., Levin, S., & Milem, J. F. (2004). Effects of racial diversity on complex thinking in college students. Psychological Science, 15(8), 507– 510. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00710.x
  3. Boaler, J. (1997). Reclaiming school mathematics: The girls fight back. Gender and Education, 9(3), 285–305. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540259721268
  4. Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University.
  5. Carmichael, S. G. (2017). Women dominate college majors that lead to lower-paying work. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review website: https://hbr.org/2017/04/women-dominate-college-majors-that-lead-to-lower-paying-work
  6. Chamberlain, A. (2017). The pipeline problem: How college majors contribute to the gender pay gap. Retrieved from Glassdoor website: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/app/uploads/sites/2/2017/04/FULL-STUDY-PDF-Gender-Pay-Gap2FCollege-Major-1.pdf
  7. Chen, X. (2013). STEM attrition: College students’ paths into and out of STEM fields (NCES 2014-001). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
  8. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203771587
  9. Cole, D. A. (1991). Change in self-perceived competence as a function of peer and teachers evaluation. Developmental Psychology, 27(4), 682-688. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.27.4.682
  10. Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.
  11. Cribbs, J. D., Hazari, Z., Sonnert, G., & Sadler, P. M. (2015). Establishing an explanatory model for mathematics identity. Child Development, 86(4), 1048–1062. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12363
  12. Du Bois, B. (1983). Passionate scholarship: Notes on values, knowing, and method in feminist social science. In G. Bowles & R. D. Klein (Eds.), Theories of Women’s Studies. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  13. Dwyer, K. K., Bingham, S. G., Carlson, R. E., Prisbell, M., Cruz, A. M., & Fus, D. A. (2004). Communication and connectedness in the classroom: Development of the connected classroom climate inventory. Communication Research Reports, 21(3), 264–272. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824090409359988 38
  14. Eagan, Kevin; Stolzenberg, Ellen Bara; Bates, Abigail K.; Aragon, Melissa C., Suchard, Maria Ramirez; Rios-Aguilar, C. (2015). American Freshman: National Norms fall 2015. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.
  15. Ellis, J., Fosdick, B. K., & Rasmussen, C. (2016). Women 1.5 times more likely to leave stem pipeline after calculus compared to men: Lack of mathematical confidence a potential culprit. PLoS ONE, 11(7), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0157447
  16. Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(23), 8410–8415. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1319030111
  17. Frisby, B. N., & Martin, M. M. (2010). Instructor-student and student-student rapport in the classroom. Communication Education, 59(2), 146–164. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634520903564362
  18. Gibbs, K. (2014, September). Diversity in STEM: What It Is and Why It Matters. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/diversity-in-stem-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters/
  19. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  20. Griffin, C. (2021). Calculus instruction and female sense of belonging. In Olanoff, D., Johnson, K., & Spritzer, S. M. (Eds.) Proceedings of the forty-third annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 1331-1335). Philadelphia, PA. http://www.pmena.org/pmenaproceedings/PMENA 43 2021 Proceedings.pdf
  21. Good, C., Rattan, A., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Why do women opt out? Sense of belonging and women’s representation in mathematics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(4), 700–717. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026659
  22. Hausmann, L. R. M., Schofield, J. W., & Woods, R. L. (2007). Sense of belonging as a predictor of intentions to persist among African American and white first-year college students. Research in Higher Education, 48(7), 803–839. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-007-9052-9
  23. Hoffman, M., Richmond, J., Morrow, J., & Salomone, K. (2003). Investigating “sense of belonging” in first-year college students. Journal of College Student Retention, 4, 227–256. https://doi.org/10.2190/DRYC-CXQ9-JQ8V-HT4V
  24. Hong, L., & Page, S. E. (2004). Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(46), 16385–16389. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0403723101
  25. Johnson, E., Andrews-Larson, C., Keene, K., Melhuish, K., Keller, R., & Fortune, N. (2020). Inquiry and gender inequity in the undergraduate mathematics classroom. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 51(4), 504–516. https://doi.org/10.5951/jresematheduc-2020-0043
  26. Kitzinger, C., & Wilkinson, S. (1997). Validating women’s experience? Dilemmas in feminist research. Feminism and Psychology, 7(4), 566-574. https://doi.org/10,1177/0959353597074012
  27. Kogan, M., & Laursen, S. L. (2014). Assessing long-term effects of inquiry-based learning: A case study from college mathematics. Innovative Higher Education, 39(3), 183–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-013-9269-9
  28. Lahdenperä, J., & Nieminen, J. H. (2020). How does a mathematician fit in? A mixed-methods analysis of university students’ sense of belonging in mathematics. International Journal of 40 Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education, 6(3), 475–494. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40753-020-00118-5
  29. Lahdenperä, J., Postareff, L., & Rämö, J. (2019). Supporting quality of learning in university mathematics: A comparison of two instructional designs. International Journal of Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education, 5(1), 75–96. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40753-018-0080-y
  30. Larson, R., & Edwards, B. (2012). Calculus I with precalculus: A one-year course. Boston, MA: Brooks/Cole.
  31. Lewis, K. L., & Hodges, S. D. (2015). Expanding the concept of belonging in academic domains: Development and validation of the Ability Uncertainty Scale. Learning and Individual Differences, 37, 197-202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2014.12.002
  32. Maloney, T., & Matthews, J. S. (2000). Teacher care and students’ sense of connectedness in the urban mathematics classroom. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 51(4), 399– 432. https://doi.org/10.5951/jresematheduc-2020-0044
  33. Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(July), 223–231. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2168-9830.2004.tb00809.x
  34. Rainey, K., Dancy, M., Mickelson, R., Stearns, E., & Moller, S. (2018). Race and gender differences in how sense of belonging influences decisions to major in STEM. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(10). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-018-0115-6
  35. Rainey, K., Dancy, M., Mickelson, R., Stearns, E., & Moller, S. (2019). A descriptive study of race and gender differences in how instructional style and perceived professor care influence decisions to major in STEM. International Journal of STEM Education, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-019-0159-2
  36. Rasmussen, C., Apkarian, N., Hagman, J. E., Johnson, E., Larsen, S., & Bressoud, D. (2019). Characteristics of precalculus through calculus 2 programs: Insights from a national census survey. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 50(1), 98–111. https://doi.org/10.5951/jresematheduc.50.1.0098
  37. Rasmussen, C., & Ellis, J. (2013). Students who switch out of calculus and the reasons they leave. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, (1975), 457–464.
  38. Roberts, G., Kleiber, D., & Duda, J. (1981). An analysis of motivation in children’s sport: The role of perceived competence in participation. The Journal of Sport Psychology, 3(3), 206-216.
  39. Rosenberg, M., & McCullough, B. C. (1981). Mattering: Inferred significance and mental health among adolescents. Research in Community & Mental Health, 2, 163–182.
  40. Seymour, E., & Hunter, A.-B. (Eds.). (2019). Talking about leaving revisited: Persistence, relocation, and loss in undergraduate STEM education. Boulder, CO: Center for STEM Learning. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-25304-2
  41. Shapiro, C. A., & Sax, L. J. (2011). Major selection and persistence for women in STEM. New Directions for Institutional Research, 14(7), 5–18. https://doi.org/10.1002/ir
  42. Stewart, J., Clegg, D., & Watson, S. (2021). Calculus: Early transcendentals (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.
  43. Strayhorn, T. L. (2012). College students’ sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. New York, NY: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203118924
  44. Taylor, C. T., Pearlstein, S. L., Kakaria, S., Lyubomirsky, S., & Stein, M. B. (2020). Enhancing social connectedness in anxiety and depression through amplification of positivity: Preliminary treatment outcomes and process of change. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 44(4), 788-800. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-020-10102-7
  45. Thoman, D. B., Arizaga, J. A., Smith, J. L., Story, T. S., Soncuya, G. (2014). The grass is greener in non-science, technology, engineering, and math classes: Examining the role of competing belonging to undergraduate women’s vulnerability to being pulled away from science. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38(2), 246-258. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684313499899
  46. Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89–125. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543045001089
  47. Wanders, F. H. K., van der Veen, I., Dijkstra, A. B., & Maslowski, R. (2019). The influence of teacher-student and student-student relationships on societal involvement in Dutch primary and secondary schools. Theory and Research in Social Education, 48(1), 101–119. https://doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2019.1651682
  48. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 68–81. https://doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1999.1015
LICENSE
Creative Commons License