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School performance in maths: gender does not matter

“When it comes to math, boys are better than girls.” Now, how many times have we heard this before? Stereotypes? Maybe? But then it gets to the point when we believe it.

For example, this belief has been used to explain why there are very few female mathematicians, engineers and physicists reaching high career levels.

Researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Madison have just announced some study findings that will make a lot of girls feel vindicated.

They looked at SAT results and math scores of over 7 million US students who were tested according to the No Child Left Behind Act. And the results are clear – girls measured up to boys when it comes to solving mathematical problems.

The researchers are sending out the message to teachers and parents alike that this type of stereotyping can be influential in a girl’s math self-concept. They move on to mention that girls actually take just as many advanced math courses in high school as boys. In addition, 48% of all bachelor’s degrees in mathematics are earned by women.

So why the lack of high level female mathematicians and physicists in universities? Maybe it’s about time they check their employment policies…


University of Wisconsin – Madison News 24 July 2008

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