Does Gender Affect Learning Outcomes In Undergraduate STEM Majors?

Anonymous Author

The Learning Assistant program at UCLA aims to create a positive and engaging learning environment where undergraduate students who have mastered a certain course’s material can help teach that material to students who are currently in the class. This study observed ten undergraduate Learning Assistants at UCLA to determine whether there was a difference in how often positive and negative politeness were used in discussion sections. The differences in their usage were looked at from a gendered perspective: the study sought to determine whether similarities or differences in gender resulted in one kind of politeness getting used more often than another. The study ultimately determined that, when looking at same-gendered interactions, positive politeness was used more commonly in same-gendered interactions than different-gendered interactions. However, what about negative politeness? Would gender differences potentially make Learning Assistants act with more hesitancy, and, therefore, use it more frequently? This article provides the answer to this question, as well as goes into greater depth about this study’s intriguing findings.

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