More Women Leave Engineering After Taking Calculus Than Men

The dropout rate is higher among women than men after Calculus I.


How confusing really is the subject Calculus? Confusing enough to kick women off significantly in engineering.

Jessica Ellis of Colorado State University found in a study that 1 in 6 women drop plans to continue with a sequence of calculus courses required for engineering careers. This is in contrast with men who have a dropout rate of 1 in 8.

It is identified through survey responses that it isn’t the lack of ability to proceed that women are discouraged to pursue a career in engineering, but the lack of confidence instead.


Source: iStock

Ellis highlighted one survey question that spelled the difference between the gender: “I do not believe I understand the ideas of Calculus I well enough to take Calculus II,” wherein 32 to 35 per cent of women said yes while only 14 to 20 per cent of men agreed.

The researcher also discovered from a group who disclosed grade information that 48% of those women who switch from engineering have an A or B grade, while 42% of the men have the same grade and yet choose to switch. This proves that women have a confidence issue upon taking the Calculus subject.

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More Women Leave Engineering After Taking Calculus Than Men

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