Stereotype of Mathematical Inferiority Still Plagues Girls
Recent studies find females have caught up with the other gender.
Educators and advocates have been pointing to the data and trying to get the word out for years: Girls perform as well as boys in mathematics. A recent study, which shows matching test scores in that subject between the sexes, appears to bolster the argument.
But even if the latest research helps shape public opinion on gender issues, school officials still face a major task in overcoming the stereotypes held by parents, teachers, and even girls themselves that boys are more suited to math-heavy studies and professions, particularly in such areas as engineering and physics, observers say.
The recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, Berkeley, is generally consistent with research dating to the 1990s showing both genders performing at roughly the same level in math. In contrast to some past findings, however, it shows males having no advantage over females in high school in that subject. Over the past few decades, young women have made strides in taking an increasing number of advanced math and science courses in high school, overcoming a deficit that some had cited as an explanation for higher male scores on standardized...
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