Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer A. Firestine

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy English

Third Advisor

Dr. Paige Mettler-Cherry


Females, in this modern age of feminism, have excelled in all fields of study and graduate from college in larger numbers than males. However, few women go into the STEM fields (Hill, Corbett, & St. Rose, 2010). To close this gap in mathematics-related fields, it is paramount that high schools produce female students who are advanced in Mathematics. The problem was the underrepresentation of females in mathematical fields of study, with a more pressing issue of underrepresentation of females in college preparatory mathematics classes at the high school level. The purpose of this study was to determine if the geographical region of a high school contributed to the resulting ratio of males to females enrolled in college level mathematics courses. In this mixed methods study, 21 urban, 14 suburban, and 30 rural public school districts in Missouri, were selected and the ratio of males to females enrolled in Calculus for each district was obtained. The researcher’s rationale for this comparison was that the culture of each geographical region created bias affecting females’ choice in their fields of study.

The research question was: Does the ratio of males to females differ between urban, rural, and suburban high schools in advanced mathematics courses? Two types of analyses were applied in this study and obtained the following results. The data analyzed in the study did not support a difference in ratios when comparing urban, rural, and suburban schools, nor did it support a difference in male to female ratios enrolled in advanced placement coursework. The data did not support a relationship between the ratio of Calculus students and the district budget, but did yield a mild positive correlation when comparing the ratios of male to female students in Calculus and male to female mathematics teachers.

Historically, lower enrollment of women in the STEM fields than males is a trend supportable by the findings of this study. In rural and suburban areas there were fewer females than males enrolled in advanced mathematics. However, in the urban areas a slight difference yielded more females than males enrolled in similar coursework.


Copyright 2014

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