Studying the Role of Gender and Language for Mathematical Tasks

The National Science Foundation awarded researchers in CRDG’s Mathematics Section $450,000 to fund a three-year study of gender and mathematics. The research involves investigating genderrelated differences in language and actions used by parents and children when working on number, algebra, and geometry tasks. Data are gathered during videotaped sessions and analyzed for gender-related differences in the use of cognitively demanding language used by parents and children as they work on mathematical tasks. Children’s self-efficacy and parents’ beliefs of competency for their children are part of the study. During the pilot phase in 2006, eighteen child-parent dyads were videotaped, allowing for refinement of the survey instruments. Implementation of the formal study began in 2006 and will involve studying one hundred parent-child dyads over the 2006– 2007 school year. Findings from this research will extend the knowledge base regarding gender issues in the role parents play in their children’s mathematical learning.