Mathematical Abilities: Alleged Differences By Gender Don’t Add Up

“Girls around the world are not worse at math than boys, even though boys are more confident in their math abilities, and girls from countries where gender equity is more prevalent are more likely to perform better on mathematics assessment tests . . .”

It isn’t the reality of difference but the perception of difference between males and females that accounts for the disparities that exist in some nations and cultures when it comes to mathematical abilities and aptitudes. So concludes a twenty-five page analysis of the question, Cross-National Patterns of Gender Differences in Mathematics: A Meta-Analysis appearing in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

“‘Stereotypes about female inferiority in mathematics are a distinct contrast to the actual scientific data,’ said Nicole Else-Quest, PhD, a psychology professor at Villanova University, and lead author of the meta-analysis. ‘These results show that girls will perform at the same level as the boys when they are given the right educational tools and have visible female role models excelling in mathematics.’”

For complete details, see the study, based on an analysis of nearly 500,000 students from 69 countries. For a more succinct exposition of the findings, see this press release from the American Psychological Association.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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