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Teachers underrating Girls’ ability to solve problems in Maths likely to create Gender Gap in the Subject, says Study

Two potential contributors to gender gaps are students' learning behaviours and teacher expectations

Representational image. Flickr

New York, October 28, 2016: Teachers underrating girls’ ability to solve problems in Mathematics will likely contribute to the widening of gender gap in the subject, finds a study.

According to the study, published in the journal AERA Open, beginning in early elementary school boys outperform girls in math — especially among the highest math achievers.

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This leads to teachers giving lower ratings to girls’ math skills while both the genders have similar achievement and behaviour towards the subject.

“Despite changes in the educational landscape, our findings suggest that the gender gaps observed among children who entered kindergarten in 2010 are strikingly similar to what we saw in children who entered kindergarten in 1998,” said Joseph Robinson Cimpian, Associate Professor at the New York University.

Data showed that boys and girls began kindergarten with similar math proficiency, but disparities developed by Grade 3 with girls lagging behind. The gap was particularly large among the highest math achievers.

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Research also revealed disparities in teacher perceptions of students, with teachers rating the math skill of girls lower than those of similarly behaving and performing boys.

Finally, the researchers examined gendered patterns of learning behaviours to try and explain why boys are more likely to score as high math achievers.

They found that girls’ more studious approaches to learning pay off by boosting them at the bottom of the achievement distribution, but do not help the persistent gap at the top as much.

The researchers explored the early development of gender gaps in math, including when disparities first appear, where in the distribution such gaps develop, and whether the gaps have changed over the years.

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In addition to math achievement, they examined two potential contributors to gender gaps: students’ learning behaviours and teacher expectations.

Overall, the researchers found remarkable consistency across both cohorts. They observed that the gender gap at the top of the distribution (among the highest achievers in math) develops before students enter kindergarten, worsens through elementary school, and has not improved over the last decade. (IANS)

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On National Mathematics Day, 10 amazing facts about Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa is credited with crucial contributions like infinite series, number theory, and continued fractions.

Srinivasa Ramanujan was only second Indian to be offered fellowship in Royal Society.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was only second Indian to be offered fellowship in Royal Society.

NEW DELHI: Srinivasa Ramanujan is considered as one of the top mathematician gems ever lived in India. His extraordinary mind and unbeatable logics got him noticed by the mathematics scholar all over the world. He was born on 22 December 1887. He is credited with crucial contributions like infinite series, number theory, and continued fractions.

To get the better understanding of mathematics, he initiated a postal internship with an English mathematician, GH Hardy in 1913. Soon, Hardy was able to recognize the marvelous talent of Srinivasa and took him along to Cambridge University.

Following are some of the facts that sum up the works of Srinivasa Ramanujan:

1. Embarked his career on a Mathematics book
Srinivasa belonged to a very financially weak background and wasn’t in a position to buy books and copies. Thus, he borrowed a copy of Loney’s book on Plane Trigonometry, from one of his friends. This book was published by Cambridge University Press in 1894.

One other book which laid his sturdy foundation was ‘A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics’. Both these books helped him to get through the basics of 20th-century mathematics.

2. Grew on his own skills
Srinivasa didn’t get any kind of support from anywhere and learned all the academic knowledge on his own. Many of his work was the result of his mere intuition. His these efforts helped him to be known as one of the great mathematicians of all times.

3. Honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Society
Srinivasa is one of the youngest fellows in the history of the Royal Society and the only second Indian to reach such heights. He achieved this feat when he was 31 years old in 1918.During his course of three years in fellowship, Srinivasa published more than 30 research papers. And also he worked on half a dozen research papers.

4. Authored 3,900 results by the age of 32
Srinivasa didn’t live long enough and his life journey was cut short at a very young age of 32 only. But he made full use of his time and compiled 3.900 results, mostly on identities and equations. Apart from this, his most memorable discovery in the mathematics field is The Infinite Series of Pi.

Srinivasan is regarded as an imminent mathematician for his work
Srinivasan is regarded as an imminent mathematician for his work

5. An exclusive museum dedicated to Srinivasa

There is a dedicated museum situated in Chennai, in the glorious memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan. The museum is decorated with many of his pictures along with his family members. Apart from that, the museum holds his many letters and life stories. The credit to laud his efforts goes to Late P.K. Srinivasan. He himself was an eminent mathematician.

6. December 22, is remembered as the National Mathematics Day
Srinivasa was born on December 22, and to immortalise his work in the field of math’s, this date is celebrated as the National Mathematics Day every year. He has been a tremendous inspiration to our many generations to come and will be remembered as a great mathematical scholar of India.

7. Mastered Loney’s Trigonometry by the age of 13
By the time Srinivasa turned 13, he had completed advanced Trigonometry by Loney’s and not only this but he also worked out on many complex theorems through his own logic. He is rightly considered as a child prodigy by many historians and scholars.

8. Earned his Ph.D. degree from Cambridge
After learning about Srinivasa’s ability in Maths, GH Hardy took him to Cambridge University. There is spelled his professors with his exceptional potential and knowledge. After devoting his full five years in Cambridge University, he was awarded his Ph.D. degree in mathematics.

9. Devotee of goddess Mahalakshmi
Srinivas was a very religious kind of person and staunchly believed in almighty. His personal favorite was goddess Mahalakshmi of Namakkal and credited her for all his achievements. He even said, “An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.” Throughout his life, he followed a very strict vegetarian diet.

10. House turned into monument
Srinivas residence in Kumbakonam is now retained as the Srinivasa Ramanujan International monument. After his birth, his family along with him moved to this residence and hence it was the set of his official residence.