Small group gender ratios impact biology class performance and peer evaluations

Lauren L Sullivan, Cissy Ballen, Sehoya H Cotner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Evidence suggests the microclimate of the classroom is an important factor influencing female course grades and interest, which encourages retention of women in STEM fields. Here, we test whether the gender composition of small (8±9 person) learning groups impacts course performance, sense of social belonging, and intragroup peer evaluations of intellectual contributions. Across two undergraduate active learning courses in introductory biology, we manipulated the classroom microclimate by varying the gender ratios of learning groups, ranging from 0% female to 100% female. We found that as the percent of women in groups increased, so did overall course performance for all students, regardless of gender. Additionally, women assigned higher peer- evaluations in groups with more women than groups with less women. Our work demonstrates an added benefit of the retention of women in STEM: Increased performance for all, and positive peer perceptions for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0195129
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

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peers
Biological Sciences
gender
Mathematics
Microclimate
engineering
learning
Technology
microclimate
Students
Learning
Chemical analysis
Problem-Based Learning
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
college students
students
mathematics

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Cite this

Small group gender ratios impact biology class performance and peer evaluations. / Sullivan, Lauren L; Ballen, Cissy; Cotner, Sehoya H.

In: PloS one, Vol. 13, No. 4, e0195129, 01.04.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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