Is the STEM gender gap closing?

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Anton Dubrovskiy
Susan Broadway
Ben Jang
Blain Mamiya
Cynthia B. Powell
G. Robert Shelton
Deborah Rush Walker
Rebecca Weber
Vickie Williamson
Adrian Villalta-Cerdas
Diana Mason


The Networking for Science Advancement (NSA) team's institutions consist of nine universities located in one large southwestern state. This study evaluated students enrolled from Spring 2017 to Fall 2019 in first- and second-semester general chemistry. Over 90% of the students (n = 6,694) have been exposed to a secondary school isomorphic curriculum. The population studied, Chem I (n = 4,619) and Chem II (n = 2,075), met entry-level criteria and are therefore expected to succeed (i.e., earn grades of A, B or C). This study's focus is to disaggregate data based on binary gender (M/F) in hopes of revealing patterns that might remain hidden when studying an undivided population. In Chem I, the female population was 59.6% and increased to 64.5% for Chem II. The 15-min., diagnostic Math-Up Skills Test’s (MUST) scores identified about half of all students who were unsuccessful (grades of D and F). Results from the study support that males enter Chem I and II with better automaticity skills (what can be done without using a calculator) than females. However, females outperformed males on course averages in Chem I but not Chem II. Our data provide supporting evidence that the gender gap may be closing.


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How to Cite
Dubrovskiy, A., Broadway, S., Jang, B., Mamiya, B., Powell, C. B., Shelton, G. R., Walker, D. R., Weber, R., Williamson, V., Villalta-Cerdas, A., & Mason, D. (2021). Is the STEM gender gap closing?. Journal of Research in Science Mathematics and Technology Education, 5(1), 37-57.