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# Math study finds girls are just as good as boys... maybe

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by sue, Palo Alto High School,
on Jul 25, 2008

[Janet] Hyde and her colleagues looked at annual math tests required by the No Child Left Behind education law in 2002. . . .

The researchers found no difference in the scores of boys versus girls--not even in high school. Studies 20 years ago showed girls and boys did equally well on math in elementary school, but girls fell behind in high school.

"Girls have now achieved gender parity in performance on standardized math tests," Hyde said. . . .

As Hyde and her colleagues looked across the data for states' testing, they found something they didn't expect: In most states they reviewed, and at most grade levels, there weren't any questions that involved complex problem-solving, an ability needed to succeed in high levels of science and math. . . .

That might be a glaring omission, said Stephen Camarata, a Vanderbilt University professor who has researched the issue but was not involved in the study.

"We need to know that, if our measures aren't capturing some aspect of math that's important," Camarata said. "Then we can decide whether there's an actual male or female advantage."

Math, as Charles Murray Web Link in a 2005 Commentary essay, is "the most abstract field" in the sciences, and also the one in which the achievement gap between the sexes is greatest: "The number of great female mathematicians is approximately two (Emmy Noether definitely, Sonya Kovalevskaya maybe)."

Thus, as it turns out, the findings of the study are entirely consistent with the hypothesis that boys and men tend to be better at math than their female counterparts. No child left behind--equal ignorance for all!Web Link