In Response to the Remarks by Lawrence H. Summers, Presenting Empirical Data on the Differences in Learning Styles between Males and Females
Cardozo Women's L.J. , Vol. 11, No. 3, 2005
4 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2008
This essay responds to the provocative remarks by Lawrence H. Summers made at a conference on Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce. Summers postulated that a reason for a disparity in women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering was the different availability of aptitude at the high end. He also commented that there were studies indicating that males perform better on achievement tests than females.
In this essay, Boyle and Honigsfeld share the results of an international study by Doctors Honigsfeld and Rita Dunn. Drs. Honigsfeld and Dunn found that there were differences between high school males and females, throughout the world, in terms of their learning styles. This gender study indicated that female students process academic information differently from their male counterparts. (The researchers also found that, whereas there were differences between the learning styles of boys and girls in five countries, individuals within each group had unique learning styles as well.)
With respect to the differences that Summers refers to, Boyle & Honigsfeld conclude that it may be neither aptitude nor IQ that is at issue here, but the difference between how the subjects of science and engineering are taught and how these subjects are learned by females and males.
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