Re: Welcome to Dialogue with the Experts

Date: Thu Dec 02 1999 - 09:11:41 EST

Hello, edequity,

By way of introduction, I am Rosa Hernandez Hemphill. I teach science at
a small independent school in Portland, Oregon,USA. As a teacher, and as
the mother of a high-school-aged young woman, I am interested in learning
more about successful approaches to encouraging young women to consider
science futures--and look forward to the discussion on this list.

Although I know research has been done on single sex classes, I offer a
personal anecdote and ask the panelists for their opinion on the success
rate, or not, of such classes.

Usually my chemistry classes are fairly evenly split between young men
and young women. In some years, a science class will turn out to be
predominantly female or predominantly male. One recent year, in an
almost all girl class, both in the regular teaching
periods and in the lab periods, there was more camraderie among the young
women, a greater sharing in the small group activities. However, the
class as a whole did not fare as well on tests as the classes with a
greater gender mix. A class that was predominantly young men seemed more
focused, more competitive in the approach to lab work. Although these
few classes may simply have been a serendipitous mix of students, I
wondered if others with predominantly-young women science classes have
made similar observations. Have all-young women classes been more
successful in encouraging young women to pursue majors and careers in

Rosa Hemphill

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