Curriculum Theory and Evidence

Review Recommendations, Strategies, Effective Practices, and Resources

What the Literature Says*


The way in that curriculum is organized, sequenced, and prioritized may carry gender bias and prevent participation or completion of coursework leading to nontraditional careers. Essential elements of a bias-free curriculum include: relevancy, gender-inclusive images and text, and hands-on instructional practice.


Preparation in early grades followed by a high school curriculum of high academic rigor is crucial to ensuring equal opportunity in the sciences at the college level and beyond. A lack of participation in STEM courses of study has been attributed to bias toward males in curricula. A bias-free re-conceptualization of courses leading to nontraditional careers is necessary. Girls Math Camp participants reported improved confidence when geometry lessons included drawing and manipulative models. Respondents to a survey of 1000 female IT professionals named a relevant curriculum as one of four factors contributing to their entrance and persistence in an IT career. Curricular materials need to be relevant to a student’s prior experience.

*Please note that author/date callouts to references and full references can be found in the Print Form of the Root Causes document. You will be asked to complete a brief survey about your intended use of the document. The PDF will download after the survey is submitted. Thank you for your assistance!