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Study: Girls Closing the Math Gap

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A new study says girls have closed the achievement gap in math, but boys are still lagging behind when it comes to reading.

Girl writing mathematics

In a new study conducted by the Center on Education Policy, researchers found that girls now have the same proficiency in math as boys at all grade levels -- including high school. Math had traditionally been a subject where the gender gap had been evident.

In reading, however, the gap is widening. The study found that girls outperformed boys at all grade levels -- and in many parts of the country, the gap was bigger than 10 percent.

The test results have study authors concerned. "Something is going on in our schools that is holding boys back," says Jack Jennings, president and chief executive of the CEP. "Girls should continue [to be encouraged] to reach their full potential. We also should ask the question of why boys are lagging behind."

For the past two decades, educators have been pushing for girls to study and to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Even with that emphasis, fewer women than men are choosing those careers.

The trend of boys falling behind in literacy also could be a factor in their success later in life, Jennings noted. Other research has shown that boys are more likely to drop out of high school or choose not to go to college.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
tennmom March 17, 2010, 1:58 PM

Both of my girls have always done very well with math and reading.
There seems to be more books aimed at young/tween/teen girls than boys. I wonder if that has something to do with the gap.

michelle March 18, 2010, 8:52 AM

I think it’s because public education is getting worse and worse. The impact is disproportionately on boys, but it really affects all students (the math gender gap within the US may be closing, but overall math achievement in the US is poor as compared to other countries). Schools are increasingly ill equipped to deal with the slightly different educational needs of boys, due to budget cuts and the mediocre (and worsening) teacher population. As class sizes increase and resources decline, there is this emphasis on just keeping order in the classroom, rather than actual instruction and individual attention. This does boys no favors.

Mathilda Bhayani July 25, 2010, 10:28 PM

@Jim Thats good stuff

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