Did you know that there is a study on just about anything and everything? If there isn’t a study being done on something, then it either has little to no importance, or someone else will study it in the near future.
It came to my knowledge that almost everything is being studied when discussing with a professor the ideas of a study that I wanted to do for Honors. I had recently learned that there is a study on the relationship between self-esteem in math and math scores. The United States ranked #1 in the world as to how well the students think they do on math tests, but in reality we are #30. According to the Washington Post:
“Not only did the United States score below average in math, it had fewer top performers. These are students who can develop “models for complex situations, and work strategically using broad, well- developed thinking and reasoning skills,” according to the OECD. While just 2 percent of U.S. teenagers reached that level in math, 31 percent of Shanghai students achieved it.”
Did you know that there is a study on the impact of stereotypes on success on certain tests? If you are white and told before taking a math exam that it was a study between Asian and White students in math, you would do much worse than if you weren’t told anything. If you are Black and told before a practice SAT exam that this was a study between how well races succeed on this test, you would do almost 50 points worse than if you simply completed the exam without knowing it was a study on race.
My question is not why these studies exist, simply because I find them fascinating, but what can we do with the findings we gain from them? So there is no correlation between self-esteem and level of success in education of math, but how can we change the success in math then and why are we still promoting self-esteem as a means to reach higher achievement? So there is a negative correlation between racial stereotypes and success, how can we use this knowledge to our advantage?
In order to make use of any study, we have to put the research and findings to use, but where is the action?
read more from the Washington Post: U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test
read more from my professor about math vs. self-esteem: Teach Math, Not Esteem