In much of the country, the stereotype that boys do better than girls at math isn’t true – on average, they perform about the same, at least through eighth grade. But there’s a notable exception.
In school districts that are mostly rich, white and suburban, boys are much more likely to outperform girls in math, according to a new study from Stanford researchers, one of the most comprehensive looks at the gender gap in test scores at the school district level.
The research, based on 260 million standardized test scores for third through eighth graders in nearly every district in the country, suggests that local norms influence how children perform in school from early ages – and that boys are much more influenced than girls.
“It could be about some set of expectations, it could be messages kids get early on or it could be how they’re treated in school,” said Sean Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford, who conducted the study with Erin Fahle, a doctoral candidate in education policy there, and colleagues. “Something operates to help boys more than girls in some places and help girls more than boys in other places.”
The study included test scores from the 2008 to 2014 school years for 10,000 of the roughly 12,000 school districts in the United States. In no district do boys, on average, do as well or better than girls in English and language arts. In the average district, girls perform about three-quarters of a grade level ahead of boys.
But in math, there is nearly no gender gap, on average. Girls perform slightly better than boys in about a quarter of districts – particularly those that are predominantly African-American and low-income. Boys do slightly better in the rest – and much better in high-income and mostly white or Asian-American districts.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Maybe It's The Expectations of All Those Women Elementary School Teachers?
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