Science

Little Difference Found on Math Achievement Between Sexes

By Erik W. Robelen — January 07, 2010 1 min read

You know the stereotype: Girls just don’t tend to be very good in math. Even though my own personal experience certainly belies that notion—I’ve always struggled mightily in math—a new international study digs deeper, and a little more broadly, into the matter. It looks at international data sets for students in 69 countries.

The study finds that, on average, males and females differ very little in math achievement, though males tend to have a more positive attitude toward the subject. But these broad-brush findings, not surprisingly, don’t tell the whole story. There’s considerable variation in achievement across countries, which the study suggests can be explained in part by “important national characteristics reflecting the status and welfare of women.”

The results of the study, whose lead author is Nicole M. Else-Quest, a psychology professor at Villanova University, are reported in the latest issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Pscyhological Association.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.