SOC:Gender Gap closes in math & science

Kathryn Aegis (
Wed, 17 Jun 1998 07:46:57 -0700 (PDT)

At least in the United States, some statistical evidence that the
renowned gender gap between boys and girls has significantly diminished
in math and science scores. A comparison of 8th and 12th grade boys
and girls scoring on math tests administered by the Dept. of Education
revealed only a .04 difference in scoring, with the boys slightly

Similarly, scoring on science differs little by gender until
the 12th grade, when the boys begin to pull ahead. Every analysis I've
read of this particular aspect of it states that this may have more to
do with class interactions than with the actual learning of the
material. Specific suggestions are made in the report to teachers on
how to engage the girls more actively in class and in laboratory
activities, which consitutes part of their grade. One interesting
suggestion: a teacher should wait five seconds after asking a question
before calling on a student. The boys hands go up immediately, but
girls generally take a second or two to consider the question prior to
raising their hands.

This and more measures of gender progress are included in "The Girls
Report" by Lynn Phillips. Phillips compiled the report through a
comprehensive survey of hundreds of academic and government statistical

Kathryn Aegis