"High school students’ math and science gender stereotypes: relations with their STEM outcomes and socializers’ stereotypes"
Starr's research interests include stereotypes, discrimination, STEM equity and diversity, motivation, sexual objectification of girls and women, and media and technology. Her recent publications explore barriers that girls, women, and students of color face in STEM as well as factors that can improve gender and ethnic representation in STEM.
Simpkins is a developmental psychologist, studying child and adolescent development. She researches how families, friendships, and social position factors (such as ethnicity and culture) shape adolescents’ organized after-school activities and motivation. She is currently working on research focused on the positive outcomes of youth’s participation in activities as well as the predictors and correlates of high school students’ STEM motivational beliefs. She is co-PI on grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation that study how organized after-school activities support positive development from childhood through young adulthood. Simpkins directs the Center for After School and Summer Excellence (CASE) and Project REACH and co-directs the After School Activities Project.
This longitudinal study explores three research questions. First, what is the prevalence of math and science gender stereotypes among high school students, their parents, and teachers? Second, are parents’ and teachers’ gender stereotypes related to adolescents’ stereotypes? And third, are adolescents’ gender stereotypes associated with their math and science identity and outcomes? We used a nationally representative U.S. sample (N = 22,190, 50% girls, 53% White, 22% Latinx, 13% Black) of adolescents surveyed at 9th and 11th grade, their parents, and teachers. Adolescents’ transcripts were also collected at the end of high school. Adolescent gender stereotypes became significantly more traditional from 9 to 11th grade. Parents were three times more likely to believe that males are better at math/science (compared to believing females are better), and we found significant positive relations between parents’ and adolescents’ stereotypes. Finally, adolescents’ math/science gender stereotypes were significantly related to their math/science identity, which in turn was related to their STEM outcomes over the course of high school. Our findings give insight to the development of academic gender stereotypes in adolescence, their potential precursors, and their relations to academic outcomes.