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4. Among some girls, achievement actually drops and self-esteem increases. 5. The most successful strategies for teaching science at this age appear to be sustained projects which are both age appropriate and connected to the real world (these type projects increase student engagement and enthusiasm). 6. It is important to note that "tracking" may begin in middle school...tracking can be discriminatory (e.g. if girls are selectively placed in slower "tracks" in spite of having higher grades) and can affect the long term options that students have. Self-concept 1. By the end of high school, generally speaking, girls' self-concept has declined, and is lower than boys'. a. There can be many factors involved in this (not just scholastic) b. See the Illinois valedictorian study: Karen Arnold "Lives of Promise" 1995. 2. It appears that strategies that work for girls in high school (studying by themselves, participating less actively than boys, etc.) may not work in college (and beyond), where it's important to find a mentor, get help and advice, good recommendations, etc. This may be partially the "fault" of the young women, if they do not actively seek out mentors, or participate as fully in the "networking"; but it may also be partially the fault of the (primarily male) faculty, whose natural tendency is to help "people who remind them of themselves" (the "clone" phenomenon) 3. It may be that some form of informal support is critical at the transition points. (Elementary to jr. high; jr. high to HS; HS to college; etc.) that peer groups are ok, but to serve in this support role they must have leaders and access to the right information. It matters how the groups are constituted. Classroom interactions 1. The general findings of the Sadkers are not controversial; their research techniques and methods are questionable, partially because they conducted their observations in "real time (so the reliability of their particular results cannot be assessed). However, several other groups have seen the same things in their research. That is, their observations are accurate, and are supported by the literature. a. It would be valuable to reproduce and quantify the Sadkers' results; b. the connection between these findings and later achievement or self-esteem has not been established. This would be an interesting area of research. 2. All of the findings are consistent with the notion that teachers tend to view girls as "incompetent" these views can lead to "tracking". The findings of studies of tracking are relevant to this discussion.
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