Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. Raymond W. “Donny” Lee, Jr.
The purpose of this dissertation was to research the effects of gender and school size on mathematics and science achievement for schools in western Arkansas. Related research revealed historical performance gaps in mathematics and science achievement between males and females, but also showed that those gaps have closed over the past few decades. However, the research also showed that there is still a large gap in the number of males and females working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. This study also investigated this trend within western Arkansas to determine whether the gender gap in STEM is caused by differences in mathematics and science ability as evidenced by achievement, or may have another root cause. Other related research discussed the impact of school size on academic achievement with no definite conclusions and this study explored that impact specifically on mathematics and science achievement in western Arkansas.
Fourteen schools in western Arkansas were used for this causal comparative study. Within those 14 schools, 51.2% of the students were male and 48.8% of the students were female. The schools were categorized by their size and the categories were based on the Arkansas Activities Association’s classification system. Of the 14 schools, four were considered large schools, five were considered medium schools, and five were considered small schools.
In the four hypotheses, gender and size of school were the independent variables. The dependent variables were mathematics achievement as measured by the Augmented Benchmark Exam, science achievement as measured by the Augmented Benchmark Exam, mathematics achievement as measured by the End of Course Geometry Exam, and science achievement as measured by the End of Course Biology Exam. Seventh graders took the Augmented Benchmark Exams, and students taking the end of course Geometry and Biology exams were primarily 9th and 10th graders.
To analyze the data collected for each of the four hypotheses, a 3 x 2 factorial ANOVA was used. The results showed no significant interaction between school size and gender, but did show a significant difference in mathematics and science performance between small schools and medium and large schools. Therefore, according to this study, gender is not a factor affecting mathematics and science achievement, but size of school may be.
Due to the limitations of this study, generalizations about size of school should be made with caution. However, the impact of gender on mathematics and science achievement as determined by this study seems to line up with recent research. Males and females are performing at similar levels in western Arkansas, as they are across the nation. Consequently, the gender gap in STEM careers may have little to do with any genetic differences in mathematics and science ability.
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Moore, Jason Edward, "Effects of Gender and School Size on Mathematics and Science Achievement for Students in Western Arkansas" (2015). Dissertations. 35.