Women In Science Ask Fewer Questions; Affected By Test Anxiety In High Stake Exams

The gender gap in education is still a glaring and unfortunate reality. Women have to fight different odds to make their presence felt in the academic world, and however much one may wish to believe, the stair to academic success for women is not easy.

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Women In Science Ask Fewer Questions; Affected By Test Anxiety In High Stake Exams

Women In Science Ask Fewer Questions; Affected By Test Anxiety

New Delhi:  The gender gap in education is still a glaring and unfortunate reality. Women have to fight different odds to make their presence felt in the academic world, and however much one may wish to believe, the stair to academic success for women is not easy. Several research world-wide have revealed that women don't have it easy when it comes to academic success. A research conducted by a team of researchers from Oxford and Cambridge, revealed that women in STEM ask fewer questions than men. 

The research conducted by Oxford and Cambridge researchers, observed question asking behavior of participants at a large international conference. They observed 31 sessions of the conference and noticed the number of questions asked by male and female participants. The research found that men asked 80% more questions than women. The researchers noted that this lesser participation in asking questions may be an effect of the prevalent gender inequality in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Another research related to exam anxiety conducted at Stanford University, revealed that women find it difficult to perform at 'high-stake' exams. The research at Stanford revealed that women, even though performed better at assessments such as lab work or written assignments, were at a receiving end when it came to high stake exams.

The researchers analyzed two factors - anxiety and test-takers interest in the subject. The research found that among women, higher the interest in subject better the performance but also higher the anxiety lower the performance. 

Read Here: Where Are India's Female Engineers?

"Other studies have shown that students' performance on high-stakes exams is not a good predictor for whether they're acquiring the skills that STEM professionals need," said Shima Salehi who is one of the study's two lead authors. "And if psychological barriers prevent women from performing optimally on exams, it may be time to reconsider exams as a primary method for evaluating students' knowledge," she added. 

Both these researches reveal one thing, that women still have a long way to go and the present academic structures are not apt to encourage more women to participate in STEM and other male dominated fields.  

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