The Gender4STEM self-assessment tool

The Gender4STEM self-assessment tool has been designed by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology for the Gender4STEM project.

Inspired by Fribourg University’s Equal+ project and based on a solid state of the art, the associated questionnaire has been scientifically built, tested and validated with a European panel of secondary level teachers, and experts in gender and education. It is based on the assumption that teaching (and related practices) is not gender-neutral: “Gender equal teaching is not simply applying specific teaching methods. Rather, it means to detect, make aware, and integrate gender issues in relation to your teaching scenario” (Source: Equal+ Project).

The 14 Gender4STEM questions allow you to assess a set of 28 knowledge areas, 44 skills and 12 attitudes distributed in five teaching practices (see below) of secondary level teachers. This set of knowledge, skills and attitudes form the Gender4STEM competency model.

With the questionnaire results, you will find out how gender fair your teaching practices are (see below the level of gender fairness of teaching) and have access to personalized recommendations of teaching materials that will help you step up the gender fairness of your teaching practices, thus improving your teaching. After looking through your recommended materials and experimenting with some of them, you may want to take the questionnaire again to check on your progress. Ideally, you should wait at least 15 days before taking the test again in order to mitigate the memory bias (which reduces the accuracy of a questionnaire taken twice).

In terms of psychometrics (quality of the questionnaire), even if the preliminary sample (30 people) is somewhat small, it can be considered a promising starting point! Indeed, according to the Cronbach’s alpha indicator, the questionnaire is considered very reliable: .95. A Cronbach’s alpha higher than .8 is proof of good reliability, therefore .95 is a solid score!

What’s next? According to the results and the sample, the objective is to enlarge the data in order to refine the items and start looking at correlations between several biographical variables of the questionnaire participants (job, years of experience, country, etc.) and their ratings. Pre and post-assessment after looking through the teaching materials would also be an interesting avenue of research.

The five teaching practices of the Gender4STEM project - teaching preparation, teaching, assessment, counselling and awareness raising target secondary-level teachers (especially in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), school psychologists, educational counsellors and career advisors, head teachers…

  • TEACHING PREPARATION: Teaching preparation refers to practices dedicated to gender-fairly plan and prepare STEM (or not STEM) lessons, from arranging the necessary pedagogical materials and furniture, to designing instructions and student assessments, including developing student-specific teaching strategies.
  • TEACHING: Teaching refers to practices dedicated to gender-fair interactions in the classroom, from teacher interactions with students, to student interactions with one another and the environment.
  • ASSESSMENT: Assessment refers to practices dedicated to gender-fair teaching evaluation, from student evaluation by teachers, to teacher self-reflection, contributing to improving STEM (or not STEM) teaching practices and student growth.
  • COUNSELLING: Counselling refers to practices dedicated to supporting students in the development of their curriculum in a gender-fair way, from understanding the context and goals of the students, to advising on personal and school-related problems, including informing them about STEM (or not STEM) education and career options.
  • AWARENESS RAISING: Awareness-raising refers to practices dedicated to raising awareness on gender stereotypes and biases in STEM (or not) education among students and the professional community.

 

The five teaching practices are based on the referenced teaching framework.

According to ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations), the European multilingual classification of Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations

  • Secondary school teachers prepare lesson plans and materials, monitor the students' progress, assist individually when necessary, and evaluate the students’ knowledge and performance through assignments, tests and examinations.
  • Educational counsellors may provide advice on personal problems such as social integration and behavioural issues and on schoolrelated matters such as devising adequate curriculum schedules, discussing test scores, and informing students of further education options.
  • Career guidance advisors help identify options for future careers, assist beneficiaries in the development of their curriculum and help people reflect on their ambitions, interests and qualifications

Jackson (1968)[1] classifies teachers’ activities into three phases:

  1. Pre-active phase refers to the preparation of teaching and includes preparing lesson plans, arranging furniture and equipment within the classroom, operating papers, studying test reports, reading sections of a textbook, etc.
  2. Interactive phase of teaching refers to classroom teaching and includes all the behaviour and activities of a teacher after he/she enters the classroom. The teacher provides various kinds of verbal stimulation for pupils, e.g. “gives explanations, asks questions, listens to student responses and provides guidance”.
  3. Post-active phase of teaching, also known as the evaluation stage, provides necessary feedback to the teacher and student to bring the desirable improvement in their performance.

In addition, Danielson (2013) refers to a dedicated domain to “Professional Responsibilities” which consists of a wide range of professional responsibilities, from self-reflection and professional growth, to participation in a professional community, to contributions made to the profession as a whole. It also includes interactions with the families of students, contacts with the larger community and advocacy for students.

 

[1] Philip Jackson (1968), Life in Classrooms, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc.

The Gender4STEM self-assessment tool allows your teaching to be ranked on three levels according to its gender fairness. These three levels are detailed below.

  • Level 1 – Basic - according to your answers, you seem to have basic gender-fair teaching knowledge, skills and attitudes. Therefore, the Gender4STEM Teaching Assistant offers a very wide range of materials to help you improve your gender-fair teaching practices.
  • Level 2 – Intermediate - according to your answers, you already seem to have gender-fair teaching knowledge, skills and attitudes. While an expert’s help may be required from time to time, you can act relatively autonomously and handle challenges related to your gender-fair teaching practices.
  • Level 3 – Advanced - according to your answers, you seem to own advanced gender-fair teaching knowledge, skills and attitudes. You follow excellent and consistent gender-fair practices in teaching. You may be recognized as "a person to consult" when difficult questions arise. Even with an advanced level, progress is always possible.

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