- by Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun
“Universities in the United States rely too heavily on the graduate record examinations (GRE) — a standardized test introduced in 1949 that is an admissions requirement for most US graduate schools. This practice is poor at selecting the most capable students and severely restricts the flow of women and minorities into the sciences.
We are not the only ones to reach this conclusion. William Sedlacek, professor emeritus of education at the University of Maryland, College Park, who has written extensively on the issue, notes that studies find only a weak correlation between the test and ultimate success in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields. De-emphasizing the GRE and augmenting admissions procedures with measures of other attributes — such as drive, diligence and the willingness to take scientific risks — would not only make graduate admissions more predictive of the ability to do well but would also increase diversity in STEM.
The GRE, like most standardized tests, reflects certain demographic characteristics of test-takers — such as family socioeconomic status — that are unrelated to their intellectual capacity or academic preparation. The exam’s ‘quantitative score’ — the portion measuring maths acumen, which is most commonly scrutinized in admissions to STEM PhD programmes — correlates closely with gender and ethnicity (see ‘The great divide’). The effect is powerful. According to data from Educational Testing Service (ETS), based in Princeton, New Jersey, the company that administers the GRE, women score 80 points lower on average in the physical sciences than do men, and African Americans score 200 points below white people. In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success” (read more).
(Source: Nature 303-304, 2014)
Anonymous said: Hey Shychemist. I've been following your blog for awhile and I want to bring up something that seems dated but nonetheless holds to be accurate today. I feel like the girls who consider themselves to be on the science side of tumblr to be horribly mistaken. It's statistically proven that women applicants struggle to get into stem doctorate programs, and rightfully so, they don't belong there. examples- atomic-o-licious, brainsx , adventuresinchemistry, i can't fit anymore but you get it
It doesn’t seem dated, your attitude is dated. This is the 21st century.
Women deserve to be in STEM programs just as much as men. I’d wager they deserve to succeed in the Sciences even more than men because of the sexism and misogyny they experience.
They struggle to get in because they’re the minority, and a lot of people who could admit them are sexist (regardless of gender) because of the society they grew up in. Its not through any intellectual weakness. These women are amazing and just as smart as the men in their fields.
You have no right to say these things to these amazing women, many of whom I consider to be friends.
Wow. That seems like really fucking wrong. And offensive.
And I would love to take some more time out of my day to be pissed about it.
It seems that I have a lot of fucking science to do.
So, uh, screw that.
If anybody needs me, me and my lady bits will be getting some fucking science done.
I’m oddly excited to have been name checked by this shitty anon. Because it means that the very fact that I got into an Ivy League, top 15 science PhD program (where I fucking belong) is a giant fuck you to shitty anon. Also, shitty anons make Lewis sad. Because Lewis is a feminists science hippo.
Best way for me to deal with shitty nonnies who think women can’t do science? DO MORE SCIENCE!!!! MWAHAHAHA
Crap, I’m a woman biologist. I’d go get another career but I have a groundbreaking thesis on rapid evolution of reproductive isolation between seed beetle populations to finish.
I’m not a well-known tumblr scientist…but I am a scientist all the same. And while I could probably obtain a more gender-appropriate occupation… I’m pretty content with the fact I’m an atmospheric chemist Additionally, I am also one of the few women who have managed to be selected to intern at NASA’s airborne research program.
Do I not deserve a place in the STEM fields, anon?
Hey ladies! Mind if some physicists join in?
At the CERN visiting the CMS part of the LHC where were were working for 8 months on both computational and experimental work:
Presenting our research at a conference on Physics of Living Systems:
And visiting the Wind Tunnel experiment after presenting our research at Max Planck Institute at a Advances in Cardiac Dynamics Workshop
Oh, me? What do I do? I try to understand why superbursts happen in neutron stars! This is important because: they shouldn’t happen but they do. And the implications could be astoundingly helpful for things like, oh I don’t know, nuclear fusion.
Oh, just me, at a conference after presenting this:
"don’t belong there"?! excuse you!
Im not a science tumblr but i am a girl and a geologist so i kinda prove you wrong…?
In the Sorbas Basin finding fossilised bird trackways and fossilised rain drops
Using HCl to dissolve solnhofen plattenkalk (limestones) to make plastic copies of exceptional fossils
On board the HMS Discovery, a state of the art scientific ship which anchors at the NOC (national oceanography centre Southampton)
Doing some geological mapping and fieldwork in Ingleton Yorkshire
So yeh anon, you’re wrong and very very very outdated in your opinions
And this is me, working on a juvenile fish survey for different species of endangered diandromous fish.
Which includes a lot of heavy lifting work such as seining (which includes dragging a 200 ft net through the water and examining what you caught) and carrying heavy buckets full of fish around to measure and assess their data.
I haven’t been in the lab in a couple weeks, so I have no sassy lady scientist action shots, but I think these ladies covered it well.
That anon can go light himself on fire.
It seems like the title of an onion article, but it’s actually very serious. A study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that hurricanes with feminine names killed significantly more people than hurricanes with masculine names. The authors looked at several decades of hurricane deaths (excluding extreme outliers like Katrina and Audrey) and posed a question:
Do people judge hurricane risks in the context of gender-based expectations?
According to their study, the answer is a big yes.
Laboratory experiments indicate that this is because hurricane names lead to gender-based expectations about severity and this, in turn, guides respondents’ preparedness to take protective action.
In other words, because of some deep-seated perceptions of gender, people are less afraid of hurricanes with feminine names. And that means they are less likely to evacuate.
A different take on the typical plant cell diagram. I decided to emphasize the vast quatities of organelles inside just one cell, as opposed to most diagrams that show and label 1-2 of each organelle.
May all your sex be free of testicular explosions.
This was last week’s Animal Facts.
In the spirit of the Bechdel test, a metric that cartoonist and author Alison Bechdel created to measure gender bias in film, I’d like to propose a Finkebeiner test for stories about women in science. The test could apply to profiles of women in other fields, too.
To pass the Finkbeiner test, the story cannot mention
The fact that she’s a woman
Her husband’s job
Her child care arrangements
How she nurtures her underlings
How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field
How she’s such a role model for other women
How she’s the “first woman to…”
Here’s another trick. Take the things that are said about a female subject and flip them around as if they were said about a male. If they sound ridiculous, then chances are good they have no business in the story.