Posted: September 30, 1999

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Something happens to girls in middle school. Instead of getting turned on to math and science, research shows girls in middle school are increasingly distracted by social pressures. The Third International Math and Science Study shows that by eight grade, the performance gap between boys and girls taking math and science is fairly large. By 12th grade, it is much larger.

To increase the participation rate of high school girls and boys in math and science classes, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has produced three posters that teachers can display in their classrooms. MnSCU focus groups showed that ninth and tenth graders are highly motivated by money and what it can buy, so the posters show three scenes: a shiny red car with the license plate DID MATH, a girl riding a snowboard that says on the bottom DID SCIENCE, and a girl at the beach with an umbrella that says MATH=SUCCESS.

"These posters are very effective," said Bill Linder-Scholer of SciMathMN, an organization that promotes math and science education. "We need to reach average families and average kids who are not likely to be college-bound. We need messages that are pretty generic with a strong mass appeal. Snowboards, hot cars and beaches accomplish that." Linder-Scholer said almost half of the high school students in Minnesota are not on a college track or a vocational track, and they are not taking the math and science courses that will prepare them for success in life.

"Many students are coming to our colleges and universities unprepared to take math and science courses," said Morris J. Anderson, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. "Hopefully, the posters will plant the idea that taking math and science pays off. This is a wonder example of higher education working with K-12 education to solve a problem."

If teachers want posters for their classrooms, they can call toll-free (877) 88STATE or (877) 887-8283.