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xx = xy: Girls Equal Boys in Math Skills

Posted by Kyle Design on July 25, 2008

Girl Power Vitamin Case - Keeping Women Strong (in Math) and Healthy

Girl Power Vitamin Case - Keeping Women Strong (in Math) and Healthy

As a woman (xx) who was good in math and as the mother of two girls (2xx) who are good in math, I was thrilled to see the results of a study that found no difference in scores on math tests between the boys and girls. Mathematics is a critical skill that should be encouraged and presented in a positive way. No more setting lower expectations. No more teen Barbie dolls proclaiming “Math class is tough.” I believe girls and women will do well if told they will do well. Set the bar high.

Mathematics Tape Measure - Perfect for Measuring the Differences Between the Math Skills of Girls and Boys

Mathematics Tape Measure - Perfect for Measuring the Differences Between the Math Skills of Girls and Boys

In a study published today in the journal Science, by Janet S. Hyde, Sara M. Lindberg, Marcia C. Linn, Amy B. Ellis and Caroline C. Williams, finds that there are no gender differences between the sexes in performance on math tests. The researchers reviewed results of math tests taken in 2005, 2006 and 2007 from almost 7 million students in 10 states. One of the study’s authors, Marcia C. Linn, is professor of development and cognition specializing in education in mathematics, science, and technology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. The fact that she is a professor at my alma mater only increased my sense of delight. Go Bears!

My favorite class in high school was geometry (not art as one might expect of a professional artist!), but which is a type of math that has a strong visual element to it. I loved it! I think math is fun and that is always the attitude I take with my girls.

Celebrate Being Number One with an Engraved Christmas Ornament

Celebrate Being Number One with an Engraved Christmas Ornament

My math-major husband (xy) has always encouraged our daughters in math as well, finding every opportunity to find a math angle to discuss about a subject. He and our eldest daughter participated this last year in MATHCOUNTS, an after school program that encourages enthusiasm for math and attempts to enhance achievement in middle school mathematics throughout the United States. Our eldest daughter’s team won first place in the 6th Grade Livermore city MATHCOUNTS competition. You go, girl!!

In the spoof of former Harvard president Lawrence H. Summer’s remarks about the differences between men and women, Principal Skinner of The Simpsons, struggles with his words at an assembly: “No, no, no! It’s the differences…of which there are none, that make the sameness…exceptional! [desperately] Just tell me what to say!”

Girl Equal Boys. At last, we have statistical proof!

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate a math achievement or to reward girls for their accomplishments, please click on any of the photos above or check out the Kyle Design Math Gifts, Gifts for Women, Number One Awards and Christmas Ornament collections.



One Response to “xx = xy: Girls Equal Boys in Math Skills”

  1. awyarbr said

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting a somewhat more nuanced account of this study:

    The researchers, from the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, didn’t find a significant overall difference between girls’ and boys’ scores. But the study also found that boys’ scores were more variable than those of girls. More boys scored extremely well — or extremely poorly — than girls, who were more likely to earn scores closer to the average for all students.

    One measure of a top score is achieving the “99th percentile” — scoring in the top 1% of all students. Boys were significantly more likely to hit this goal than girls.

    In Minnesota, for example, 1.85% of white boys in the 11th grade hit the 99th percentile, compared with 0.9% of girls — meaning there were more than twice as many boys among the top scorers than girls.

    Which was exactly Larry Summers’ point.

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