An Investigation of Gender Differences in Third-Graders’ Strategies for Solving Double-Column Addition

Dr Alice P. Wakefield
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The nature-nurture argument of girls not doing so well as boys in math persists. How early these differences show up and if teachers play any role in changing the outcome are of particular interest to elementary school math educators. This investigation examined both the students’ answers and the strategies they used to obtain their answers for double-column addition. The subjects were 22 third-graders from a Virginia Title I school and 24 third-graders from a private school. No conceptual differences were found between the two groups. However, when the combined group was divided by gender, significant differences were found for the choice of strategy used to solve the problem. A follow-up study between constructivist taught and traditionally taught third-grade math students is planned for May of 2006.

Keywords: Gender Differences, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Third Grade Math, Elementary Math Strategies
Stream: Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Investigating Gender Differences in Third-Graders’ Strategies for Solving Math Problems

Dr Alice P. Wakefield

Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood, Special Education and Speech and Language Pathology, Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Early childhood teacher educator at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, doctorate in Early Childhood Education from the University of Virginia. Extensive and current experience in elementary math instruction. Recipient of Virginia College Math Teacher of 2003 Award. Author of numerous articles in distinguished journals and anthologies on math, early education, reading and language arts instruction, as well as a popular math resource book for elementary school teachers. President of the Association for Constructivist Teaching, an international education organization. Evaluator of Head Start education component and consultant to many school districts. Worked in Qatar (Fulbright) and Japan (faculty exchange). Research interests in gender differences in math strategies.

Ref: I06P0313