Studying Gender, Language, and Mathematics

Staff of the GSE project gathered for an advisory board meeting: ( left to right, back row) Char Morrow (Mount Holyoke College), Claire Okazaki, Thuy La (graduate assistant), Melfried Olson, Alice Taum, (front row) Judy Olson, Lesley Lee (PREL).

“The Role of Gender in Language Used by Children and Parents Working on Mathematical Tasks” (GSE) is a three-year study funded by the National Science Foundation. For this research, one hundred parent-child pairs from Hawai‘i public schools will be studied to investigate gender-related differences in language and actions while working on tasks representing each of three content strands: number, algebra, and geometry. Families participating in the study are all of low socio-economic status and represent a diversity of ethnicity. Data will be gathered to determine gender-related differences in parents’ and children’s use of cognitively demanding language, and on children’s self-efficacy and parents’ competence beliefs for their children. The study will also look at how these behaviors vary among the four types of child-parent dyads: daughter-mother, son-mother, daughter-father, and son-father. The findings will be used to determine how parent materials and parent involvement programs might address differences in how parents interact with their children when working on mathematical tasks.