Math & Science Education

Psychological research sheds light on how brains process math and science, achievement gaps and how students learn, but psychology itself is also a scientific discipline.

Psychology's Role

What insight can psychological research provide regarding math and science education? An APA task force report examines education and psychological research findings that can make an impact in the classroom. Research covered includes math and science cognition; social and motivational issues; and assessment.

Creating a Positive Climate

Why did "nerd" become a dirty word?

Evidence suggests that students may underachieve purposefully to avoid labels such as "geek." How can educators and psychologists help rid society of harmful stereotypes?


Students' avoidance strategies may get in the way of learning math

Teachers who emphasize learning rather than performance may help prevent students from trying to hide that they are struggling with math.

Specialized High Schools

Specialized public high schools of science, mathematics, and technology are commonly viewed as the "crown jewel" of their school districts. Yet there's been no comprehensive analysis of the contribution that these schools make over and above regular high schools. Psychologists are undertaking a study that will, among other things, examine whether graduates from these magnet programs are more likely to embark on science and technology careers.


How Students Learn

Elementary school studentsLinear or logarithmic? 
Math achievement correlates with children's ability to correctly space numbers on number lines. Moreover, it may be possible to bolster student's math achievement by helping them to acquire a linear conception of numbers sooner.


Achievement Differences


Psychology as a STEM Discipline

A 2009 APA presidential task force reviewed the current status of psychology as a core science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline. The report, titled "Psychology as a Core Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Discipline: Report of the American Psychological Association 2009 Presidential Task Force On the Future of Psychology as a STEM Discipline," provides a rationale for consistent recognition of psychology as a STEM discipline, and recommends specific actions to achieve this goal.