Research conducted by a Florida International University Professor has shown that recognition and interest are needed to develop math ability, not just an innate aptitude.
“Much of becoming a math person and pursuing a related STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) career has to do with being recognized and becoming interested – not just being able to do it,” said Hazari. “This is important for promoting math education for everyone since it is not just about confidence and performance.”
Hazari specializes in STEM Education at FIU’s College of Education and STEM Transformation Institute. Working with colleagues Jennifer D. Cribbs from Western Kentucky University, and Philip M. Sadler and Gerhard Sonnert, both from Harvard University, they published their research in the journal Child Development. They concluded that the key factors to help students become “math persons” are interest and recognition, and that confidence in ability is not sufficient.
The team conducted a survey of more than 9,000 college calculus students from across the country.