Article

The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

This paper uses a new data source, American Mathematics Competitions, to examine the gender gap among high school students at very high achievement levels. The data bring out several new facts. There is a large gender gap that widens dramatically at percentiles above those that can be examined using standard data sources. An analysis of unobserved heterogeneity indicates that there is only moderate variation in the gender gap across schools. The highest achieving girls in the U.S. are concentrated in a very small set of elite schools, suggesting that almost all girls with the ability to reach high math achievement levels are not doing so.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Some studies have focused on the evident gender gap in the right tail of mathematical ability (Benbow & Stanley, 1980, 1983Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Fryer & Levitt, 2010;Robinson & Lubienski, 2011;Wai, Putallaz, & Makel, 2010). Benbow & Stanley (1980, 1983 reported the male-female ratio in the extreme right tail was 13 to 1. Similarly, Ellison & Swanson (2010) showed that the male-female ratio at the 99th percentile exceeded 10 to 1. ...
... Some studies have focused on the evident gender gap in the right tail of mathematical ability (Benbow & Stanley, 1980, 1983Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Fryer & Levitt, 2010;Robinson & Lubienski, 2011;Wai, Putallaz, & Makel, 2010). Benbow & Stanley (1980, 1983 reported the male-female ratio in the extreme right tail was 13 to 1. Similarly, Ellison & Swanson (2010) showed that the male-female ratio at the 99th percentile exceeded 10 to 1. In contrast, Wai et al. (2010) showed that the gender gap in the right tail of mathematical ability still exists, but the ratio has declined. ...
... As noted above, there is a tendency for the gender gap in mathematics achievement to decrease as female students' college preparation increases, but the gap between boys and girls appears to widen among high mathematics achievers. Ellison and Swanson (2010) confirmed this tendency using data from American Mathematics Competitions (AMC), which consisted of a series of mathematics contests for high school students. The results indicated that the male-female ratio at the 99th percentile exceeded 10 to 1. Also, the results showed that the magnitude of the variation in the gender gap across schools in the United States was moderate, which implies that the difference in mathematics achievement between boys and girls looks similar from school to school. ...
... En general, las diferencias de género en resultados de mediciones son menores en el rango medio de la distribución de habilidades, acrecentándose en los niveles más altos de logro. Además, se ha observado que los puntajes obtenidos por hombres son más variables en ambos extremos de la distribución, lo que conlleva la presencia de más hombres en las zonas de más bajo y alto rendimiento (Baye & Monseur, 2016;Deary, Graham, Wilson, Starr & Whalley, 2003;Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Halpern, Benbow, Geary, Gur, Hyde, & Gernsbacher, 2007;Hyde & Mertz, 2009;Strand, Deary & Smith, 2010). ...
... Así, el hallazgo más relevante de dicha investigación fue que la ventaja masculina en la parte superior de la distribución de los resultados en el dominio cuantitativo parecía acrecentarse a través del tiempo. Por su parte, Ellison & Swanson (2010), al estudiar los datos de AMC 8 -considerada una instancia de evaluación educativa altamente competitiva-, observaron que la brecha de género en el percentil 99 mostraba una proporción masculino/femenino de 10 a 1. Adicionalmente, concluyeron que los hombres de alto rendimiento provenían de variados contextos, mientras las mujeres en esta posición provenían de un pequeño grupo de escuelas de élite. Esto sugiere que las mujeres estadounidenses con alta habilidad matemática no están desarrollando plenamente sus talentos para alcanzar los extremos altos de estas competencias, lo que implica incluir otras variables para una comprensión más completa. ...
... Con el objetivo de identificar las brechas existentes en los extremos de la distribución, se estudió la presencia de hombres y mujeres en dichos rangos, para lo cual se utilizó la proporción hombres/mujeres como indicador de brecha de género (Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Guiso et al., 2008). De esta forma, se examinó la tasa hombres/mujeres (en adelante, H/M) en los extremos superior (top) e inferior (bottom) de las respectivas distribuciones para cada cohorte. ...
... Furthermore, test performance of German female 10th to 13th grade students was lower than that of male students in the penultimate selection round of the 2011 Chemistry Olympiad (Urhahne, Ho, Parchmann, & Nick, 2012). Also in a 2007 U.S. mathematics competition (Grade 11 and 12), only 20% of all high scoring participants were female (Ellison & Swanson, 2010). Furthermore, Table 3 A detailed look at the publications revealed that gender differences in achievement varied with the age of the students. ...
... That is, most of these investigations did not assume an underlying theoretical mechanism that guided the research. Most studies either, only reviewed prior empirical findings and set up a similar investigation rationale and model (e.g., Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Lawton & Bordens, 1995;Sonnert et al., 2013), or did not specify any theoretical approach (e.g., Petersen & Wulff, 2017;. The authors explicitly referred to, and drew on, a clear and established theoretical approach to explain participation and achievement in mathematics and science competitions in only five publications. ...
... describe female rates dramatically declining during the national selection rounds of the German Physics and Chemistry Olympiad, ultimately resulting in female rates between 0 and 14% (Mdn = 8.5%) in international mathematical, physics, and chemistry Olympiads(Cho & Lee, 2001;Ellison & Swanson, 2010; International Mathematical Olympiad, 2018; ...
Article
Full-text available
Gendered patterns in mathematics and science interest emerge in early childhood, develop over time, and ultimately reflect advanced course selection in secondary education. During the crucial time adolescents become aware of their strengths and interests and specialize accordingly, they get the opportunity to participate in out‐of‐school learning programs such as mathematics and science competitions. This raises the question whether mathematics and science competitions contribute to gender equity by equally promoting female and male interests. In this article, we present a systematic review on gender differences and the mechanisms explaining success and failure in mathematics and science competitions. On an international level, we found large gender differences regarding participation in all Olympiads with the exception of the biology Olympiad. In fairs and national Olympiads, overall participation rates were not gendered as such, but females preferred biology topics whereas males preferred physics related topics. Male and female achievement in fairs was comparable, but males clearly outperformed female participants at the Olympiads, with the smallest differences in the biology Olympiad. Variables and theoretical frameworks explaining participation and achievement and the role of gender in mathematics and science competitions are discussed. We suggest that gender stereotypes, through their influence on self‐concept and interest, play an important role in the mechanisms resulting in low female participation rates in and beyond mathematics and science competitions (especially in physics and chemistry). The mechanisms we found explaining female representation during a national selection competition might be considered as reflecting those in female mathematics or science careers and could thus serve as food for thought on countering the gender gap in mathematics and science.
... Aiken (2007) reported that males are superior to females in academic achievement. The evidence of the existence of gender gap in American schools was also attested by Glenn and Ashley (2009) who affirmed that there is a large gender gap that widens dramatically at percentiles above those that can be examined using standard data sources. They submitted that an analysis of unobserved heterogeneity indicates that there is only moderate variation in the gender gap across schools and that the highest achieving girls in the U.S. are concentrated in a very small set of elite schools, suggesting that almost all girls with the ability to reach high achievement levels are not doing so. ...
... Aiken (2007) reports that male student is often superior to female student in academic achievement in schools. The evidence of the existence of gender gap in American schools is also attested by Glenn and Ashley (2009) who affirm that there is a large gender gap that widens dramatically at percentiles above those that can be examined using standard data sources. They submit that an analysis of unobserved heterogeneity indicates that there is only moderate variation in the gender gap across schools and that the highest achieving girls in the U.S. are concentrated in a very small set of elite schools, suggesting that almost all girls with the ability to reach high achievement levels are not doing so. ...
... As a result, 1) the variance of expected payo¤s for males (but not the mean) is signi…cantly higher than for females and 2) there are fewer women among the top performers. This is consistent with the patterns in math PISA scores in OECD countries (Machin and Pekkarinen, 2008; OECD, 2020) and in American Math Competitions (Ellison and Swanson, 2010). ...
... This result is again eerily similar to the pattern of scores observed in math exams and competitions. Ellison and Swanson (2010) show male outnumber females by a ratio of two to one among students scoring 800 in the SAT Math. This representation gap is even more acute at the top 1% of performers in American Math Competitions, where the male-female ratio exceeds ten to one. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
We investigate whether gender differences in strategic behavior depend on the perceived gender bias of strategic interactions. We use two weakly dominance solvable games where a prize is at stake. The first one is the two-person beauty contest, where strategies are numbers and players must perform mathematical operations. The second is the novel "gaze coach game", where strategies are photographs of the eye region and the two players must assign emotional states to these images. We find that males display significantly higher strategic sophistication than females in the first game but not in the second one, which is perceived to be female biased. However, females are underrepresented among top performers in both games.
... Gender disparities in mathematics achievement, are usually reported to be minor compared to the disparities due to racial and socio-economic background (Corbett, Hill, & Rose, 2008;Ellison & Swanson, 2010). The general consensus upon analysis of the data including Early Childhood Longitudinal (ECLS-K; Fryer & Levitt, 2010;Lubienski, Robinson, Crane, & Ganley, 2013, Robinson & Lubienski, 2011, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA; Cheema & Galluzzo 2013; Else-Quest, Hyde, & Linn, 2010) and NAEP (Corbett et al., 2008;Lee, /Grigg, & Deon, 2007;McGraw, Lubienski, &Strutchens, 2006) is that gender disparities in mathematics achievement are small but significant. ...
... This is consistent with Friedman (1989) who concluded upon meta-analysis of multiple studies that the gender differences in achievement are small but slightly biased in favor of boys. However, Ellison and Swanson (2010) found that there is a large gender-related gap in favor of boys among students with high achievement levels. Given the significant gender gaps in student achievement, it is important to control for gender in studies involving students' achievement outcomes. ...
... Steele and Aronson, who were the first to show the detrimental effects of negative stereotypes, defined the stereotype threat as a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group [2]. The stereotype threat is considered to be a contributing factor to racial and gender achievement gaps, such as underperformance of Black students relative to White ones in various academic subjects [3] and underrepresentation of women in the field of mathematics [4,5]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have shown that exposure to gender stereotypes has a detrimental impact on women’s performance. In chess, it has been demonstrated that the performance level of women is negatively influenced when they are exposed to negative stereotypes about their ability to play chess. However, it is still largely unclear whether the influence of a negative stereotype of women’s ability to play chess is only limited to their level of performance, or whether it could also affect their opponent’s performance. The present study investigated this reversed stereotype threat in online chess playing an unrated game. It was expected that a chess player’s performance would be influenced by the gender of their opponent. However, the participants’ online opponent was neither a female nor male chess player, but rather, unknown to the participants, it was a computer program that either played with a male or female nickname. The results showed that participants who played against a female nickname played less well, lost more games, and made more mistakes and blunders than participants who played against a male nickname. In sum, findings indicate that, in chess, the influence of a gender stereotype is not limited to the group the stereotype is targeted at, but also reduces the performance of the opponent’s level of play, leading to a reversed stereotype threat.
... Although 43% of the AMC test takers examined were girls, boys were six times as likely to score among the top 1% (n=1,200) of AMC scorers. Ellison and Swanson (2010) observed fairly consistent gender gaps in scores across most high schools but found that while high-scoring boys came from a wide variety of schools, high-scoring girls were concentrated in a very small number of elite, high-SES schools. It is important to note that although gender disparities might be larger among high-SES students, girls who do excel tend to come from high-SES contexts. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we begin by taking stock of broad trends related to gender and math-ematics, focusing primarily on patterns within the United Statesand considering howthese patterns may vary by social class and race. This article is not a tradi-tional, empirical piece but instead pulls together evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies to argue that gender remains an issue worthy of our attention within mathematics education. Given that much recent work on gender and mathe-matics has been situated outside of traditional mathematics education frames, we consider how ongoing work in psychology and gender studies can contribute to our understanding, and we use this work in conjunction withinterview data from a study of women'sexperiences in a mathematics Ph.D. program. Ultimately, we ar-gue that mathematics education researchers bring unique expertise to the table and have a particular role to play in building upon findingsin other fields to further the work on gender and mathematics.
... Third, we contribute to a growing strand of literature that aims to understand the roots of the persistent gender gap in math (for a recent review, see Buckles, 2019). Although the gender gap in education enrollment and labor market participation has dramatically narrowed over the past 50 years, the gender gap in math achievement still persists in most developed countries (Ellison and Swanson, 2010). 3 The reasons for this persistence are still not totally understood: recent research shows that the gender gap in math achievement does not exist upon entry to school, supporting the idea that nurture (e.g., gender stereotypes, culture) rather than nature (e.g., innate biological differences between sexes) determines gender differences in achievement (Hyde and Mertz, 2009;Nosek et al., 2009;Pope and Sydnor, 2010). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper examines how exposure to students identified as gifted (IQ≥130) affects achievement in secondary school, enrollment in post-compulsory education, and occupational choices. By using student-level administrative data on achievement combined with psychological examination records, we study the causal impact of gifted students on their classmates in unprecedented detail. We find a positive and significant effect of the expo-sure to gifted students on school achievement in both math and language. The impact of gifted students is, however, highly heterogeneous along three dimensions. First, we observe the strongest effects among male students and high achievers. Second, we show that male students benefit from the presence of gifted peers in all subjects regardless of their gender, whereas female students seem to benefit primarily from the presence of female gifted students. Third, we find that gifted students diagnosed with emotional or behavioral disorders have zero-to-negative effects on their classmates’ performance, a detrimental effect more pronounced for female students. Finally, exposure to gifted students in school has consequences that extend beyond the classroom: it increases the likelihood of choosing a selective academic track as well as occupations in STEM fields.
... A potential driver of these gender gaps in STEM subject uptake is differences in prior attainment, since women typically achieve lower maths scores than males (Ellison and Swanson, 2010;Fryer & Levitt, 2010;Hannay, 2018). The age 11 and 14 test scores 9 and GCSE grades in maths, English and science are used as measures of prior attainment. ...
Article
Full-text available
The underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) occupations is a world‐wide phenomenon. The UK is simultaneously encountering a shortage of STEM skills. While gender imbalances in STEM study in higher education and A‐level study are widely documented, gender imbalances are apparent in vocational post‐16 education, though the existence and causes of these imbalances have received little attention. This paper uses administrative data to explore the extent of gender imbalances in STEM qualifications attempted and achieved in vocational post‐16 education routes. Gender differentials in the uptake of vocational STEM qualifications are much starker than they are in A‐levels and the roles of ability, socio‐economic status and school characteristics in explaining gender differentials differ with the education route taken, though their power in explaining these gaps is limited.
... Some researchers, in keeping with traditional biological explanations (Geary et al., 2000), have argued that while the average performance of the two genders is the same, boys display more variation. As a result, boys are overrepresented in both the upper and lower-tails of the distribution (Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Guiso et al., 2008). This explanation, referred to as the variability hypothesis (Shields, 1975), has been criticized because the alleged variability between the two genders was neither found to be constant (Hyde & Mertz, 2009), nor culturally indifferent (Feingold, 1994). ...
Article
Full-text available
Gender differences in academic performance has received considerable attention over the years. Studies have found that even when there are no gender differences in math performance, female students exhibit larger levels of apprehension toward the subject and that this gap between the genders increases with time. This study investigates gender differences in the sources of information that lead to perceived self-efficacy in math and whether the information changes with age. Using items developed by Ellen Usher and Frank Pajares, 347 surveys were collected from six private schools in Lebanon. Confirmatory factor analysis is used to establish the validity of the measurement tool in a non-Western country. A structural component is then introduced into the model to account for age. Results indicate that older girls are more likely to receive negative information from the four sources, thus leading them to develop lower levels of perceived self-efficacy in math. These findings indicate that different socialization processes are at work, thereby providing support for social roles theories.
... Schnepf (2010) shows that the math advantage largely results from males' dominance at the top of the math achievement distribution; more specifically, male high achievers outperform female high achievers. The differences in the upper tail are important because how well students achieve at the top of the distribution serves as a gateway to mathematics and science careers (Ellison & Swanson, 2010). Findings regarding the gender gap that are based solely on U.S. samples, however, vary greatly depending on the covariates that scholars include in their analyses, with certain model specifications showing no difference between male and female students in math achievement after controlling for other factors (Cheema & Galluzzo, 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Using data from the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study for 45 countries, we examined the size of socioeconomic, gender, and immigrant status related gaps, and their relationships with education system characteristics, such as differentiation, standardization, and proportion of governmental spending on education. We find that higher socioeconomic status is positively and significantly associated with higher math and science achievement; immigrant students lag behind their native peers in both math and science, with first generation students faring worse than second generation; and girls show lower math performance than boys. A higher degree of differentiation makes socioeconomic gaps larger in both math and science achievement, whereas higher governmental spending reduces socioeconomic achievement gaps.
... On the one hand, a significant gap in maths favouring boys is traditionally documented and is apparent in certain large-scale assessment studies such as PISA 1 (OECD, 2014(OECD, , 2015. On the other hand, there are many indications that the gap varies in magnitude across countries and cultures, and that it has been narrowing or has essentially disappeared along the last decades (Brody & Mills, 2005;Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Else-Quest et al., 2010;Hyde, 2005;Hyde & Linn, 1988;Hyde et al., 2008;Lindberg et al., 2010;Wai et al., 2010). This variability and the narrowing gap was used by many scholars to demonstrate the importance of socio-cultural factors and to weaken the supposed role of genetic factors in creating the gap (Penner, 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
The gender gap in maths favouring boys at school has garnered considerable attention throughout the last decades. Since maths skills are critical for STEM academic studies and for properly integrating in math-related occupations in the labour market, the gap is a source of social concern. The existence and origin of this gender gap were highly debated. Scholars representing socio-cultural approaches have emphasized the fact that it has been narrowing along the years, its variability across countries, and the correlation between the extent of the gap and various socio-cultural factors, such as measures of country’s gender inequality, to debunk biologically based explanations. However, despite dozens of publications the issue seems far from resolved. The reverse gender gap in reading has been documented consistently across countries and ages. The gap favouring girls has received less attention although language skills are as crucial for workforce success as maths. Comparing the gender gaps in reading and in maths revealed that the two gaps are highly correlated across countries and over time and that there is a consistent rank order in their magnitude. Accordingly, when the gap in maths would get smaller, usually the reverse gap in reading would get larger. Due to this reciprocity, in all circumstances, even when girls outperform boys in maths, girls tend to perform better in reading than in maths and boys tend to perform better in maths than in reading. In this study a comparative approach was used to explore the gaps in maths and reading mutually and comprehensively by applying the within-group perspective to the personal level. Using PISA 2012 data on about half a million 15 year old students and 10 thousand schools in 63 countries, we examined the intra-student difference between achievements in maths and reading and a series of potential explanatory correlates. Out of dozens of individual and school factors, gender was identified as the most dominant predictor of the within-student difference. The results were consistent across countries and may explain the persistence of gender stereotypes regarding maths performance and the under representation of women in STEM. Joel Rapp acknowledges funding from the OECD Thomas J. Alexander fellowship programme for carrying out this work. The views expressed in the paper represent the views of the individual authors and do not represent an official position of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
... Studies on gender differences in the field of STEM cover a wide variety of research focuses, such as top performers, differences in attitudes towards competition between men and women, geographical differences, the STEM relationship with gender equality, and so on. In the USA, Ellison and Swanson (2010) analyzed data on male and female high school students. Their study confirmed that the gender difference among top students is increasing, and that the number of male students within the top 1% of grades is more than 10 times that of female students. ...
Article
Full-text available
There is wide variation in the degree of gender gap in test scores around the world, suggesting the strong influence of institutions, culture and inequality. We present comparative evidence on the gender gap in educational achievement in China, Japan, and the USA, with an emphasis on the gender-specific effect of parental income and education, and the child’s own preferences for study subjects. We used three major national representative longitudinal surveys with rich information about cognitive outcome measures of respondent children as well as educational investment and parental socio-economic status that allow us to analyze their inter-relationship. We found that low household income tends to have more adverse effects on language test scores for boys than for girls in the USA, as is consistent with previous studies. However, it does not have an impact on gender gap in test scores in China and tends to affect girls more adversely than boys in Japan.
... Some publications show that there are no gender differences in acquisition as in the three US Science Exhibits for students in grades 1-12 in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology [4]. However, some evidence shows that gender differences favor males better than females, such as the US Mathematics Competition for grades 11 and 12 in 2007, female participants only get a high score of 20% of all participants [5]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Gender differences occur in various fields, including education. Male and females should be treated equally in education, but there are many differences between males and females in various ways. This study aims to analyze differences in junior high school students’ mathematical connections by sex. The method used in this study is the subject of qualitative and quantitative research. The research test instrument consisted of 3 questions which included indicators of mathematical connections, namely connections between mathematical topics, connections between mathematics and other fields, and mathematical connections with everyday life. The results of this study showed that of 57 students, 23 male students had an average of 47.41 higher than female students who had an average of 43.15, indicating that men and women had differences in mathematical connection abilities. A common cause is female students who have understood mathematical concepts but have not been able to relate to other things.
... That is, a student need not be nominated nor take a separate, high-stakes test to qualify for acceleration. Indeed, these procedural differences suggest that the road from nomination to acceleration in elementary school may reflect a competitive process that influences the gender gaps we report (Buser et al., 2014;Croson & Gneezy, 2009;Ellison & Swanson, 2010). Second, the marginal student on the cusp of math acceleration in Dougherty et al. (2017) sits at about the 20th percentile of the districtwide performance distribution, whereas the marginal student in the present study sits closer to the 90th percentile. ...
Article
This paper examines curricular acceleration in mathematics during elementary school using administrative data from a large, diverse school district that recently implemented a targeted, test-based acceleration policy. We first characterize access to advanced math and then estimate effects of acceleration in math on measures of short-run academic achievement as well as non-test-score measures of grit, engagement with schoolwork, future plans, and continued participation in the accelerated track. Experiences and effects of math acceleration differ markedly for girls and boys. Girls are less likely to be nominated for math acceleration and perform worse on the qualifying test, relative to boys with equivalent baseline performance. We find negative effects of acceleration on short-run retention of math knowledge for girls, but no such performance decay for boys. After initial exposure to accelerated math, girls are less likely than boys to appear in the accelerated track during late elementary school and at the start of middle school.
... Therefore, this kind of descriptive evidence is likely to reflect both genuine differences in student skills and the gendered consequences of curricular tracking. At any rate, the empirical studies that have tested whether gender differences in math and science skills mediate GSHE report poor support for this hypothesis (Ellison and Swanson 2010;Hedges and Nowell 1995;Morgan et al. 2013;Xie and Shauman 2005), at least for the USA. There is increasing evidence that the overrepresentation of boys in scientific fields cannot be explained by their advantage in math and science (Vaarmets 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Gender segregation in higher education (GSHE) is recognized as a key factor to explain the persistence of gender inequalities in the labor market despite the reversal of gender gap in educational attainment. Women are systematically overrepresented in fields of study, such as social sciences and the humanities, which offer relatively poor labor market prospects; at the same time, they are underrepresented in fields that perform above the average, as engineering and ICT. Several explanations for GSHE have been proposed in the literature, but their explanatory power has to be assessed yet. Using a rich longitudinal dataset on a recent cohort of Italian upper secondary school leavers, in this paper we jointly test seven potential mechanisms for GSHE. Our results show that rational choice explanations—such as skill-based explanations and gender differences in career preferences—fail to account for GSHE. On the contrary, expressive motivations related to preferences for school subjects and for specific occupations are found to mediate to a significant extent GSHE. However, our most important result concerns the key role of curricular track choice at upper secondary level which, alone, mediates two third of the gender difference in access to the humanities and social sciences and one third of the gender difference in access to engineering and ICT.
... Who might benefit most from the "intervention"-eliminating introductory courses and receiving a signal of higher skills-described in this paper? Among relatively higher-achieving students, research consistently finds lower STEM attainment among female students, in part due to differences in educational opportunities, how math or other science skills are socialized, or the importance of having same gender role models (Ellison and Swanson = 2010;Niederle and Vesterlund 2010;Lim and Meer 2017;Mansour et al. 2018;Kofoed and mcGovney 2019). 5 One explanation for male STEM success is overconfidence (relative to one's own skills), suggesting that the signaling value of higher AP scores (an external signal of their readiness) could be more valuable for female students (Huang and Kisgen 2013;Reuben, Wiswall, and Zafar 2017). ...
Article
This paper uses Advanced Placement (AP) exams to examine how receiving college credit in high school alters students' subsequent human capital investment. Using data from one large state, I link high school students to postsecondary transcripts from in-state, public institutions and estimate causal impacts using a regression discontinuity that compares students with essentially identical AP performance but who receive different offers of college credit. I find that female students who earn credit from STEM exams take higher-level STEM courses, significantly increasing their depth of study, with no observed impacts for males. As a result, the male-female gap in STEM courses taken shrinks by roughly one-third to two-thirds, depending on the outcome studied. Earning non-STEM AP credit increases overall coursework in non-STEM courses and increases the breadth of study across departments. Early credit policies help assist colleges to produce graduates whose skills aligns with commonly cited social or economic priorities, such as developing STEM graduates with stronger skills, particularly among traditionally underrepresented groups.
... There is some evidence that boys score higher on high-level examinations in maledominated fields, while girls perform better in female-dominated fields (Benbow and Lubinski 1993;Ellison and Swanson 2010;Strand, Deary, and Smith 2006;Young and Fraser 1993). Results from recent PISA reports (OECD 2016) showed consistent outperformances by high-performing 15-year-old male students in the subjects of science and mathematics, even among the highest-performing students across countries and economies. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores how secondary school students perceive high-performing potential classmates. A total of 1,794 seventh- and 10th-grade students from five countries completed a questionnaire measuring their expectations of hypothetical male and female high-performing classmates in three categories: intellectual ability, positive social qualities, and popularity. Across the five countries represented in this study, analyses of variance indicated that students did not report negative attitudes toward the three potential characteristics of a hypothetical gifted peer. Vietnamese students in particular reported more positive observations about the hypothetical classmate than their Australian, Peruvian, South Korean, and Spanish counterparts. Differing cross-national attitudes toward high-performing peers and the implications therein are discussed.
... This phenomenon is especially concerning since a significant number of studies have found no gender differences in mathematical abilities (Else-Quest et al. 2010;Hyde et al. 1990a, b;Hyde and Linn 2006;Lindberg et al. 2010). Some have argued that while the average performance of men and women in math might be comparable, men display a greater level of variation, causing them to be overrepresented in the highest percentiles (Ellison and Swanson 2010;Guiso et al. 2008). However, it has been shown that this variability is neither constant (Hyde and Mertz 2009) nor culturally indifferent (Feingold 1994), thus indicating that a better understanding of the wider social environment is necessary . ...
Article
Full-text available
An agent-based model is proposed and tested. This model aims to simulate agency as conceptualized in Bandura's (Am Psychol 37:122–147, 1982; Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50:248–287; Annu Rev Psychol 52: 1–26) Social cognitive theory. Social cognitive theory has been used to explain the continued underrepresentation of females in certain fields, most notably fields that are associated with engineering and technology. The theory proposes that agents acquire information from four different sources, and then, through a process of reciprocal interaction, these agents develop their perception of self-efficacy. In this study, an agent-based model is used to model this interaction. The output from the simulation supports the validity of the model used and illustrates how agency "emerges" from the triadic interaction. The model successfully simulates several of the theorized aspects of social cognitive theory. The simulation results reveal that even small gendered differences can lead to female misrepresentation in certain fields. The model also shows that female discouragement plays a larger role than male encouragement in female underrepresentation. The implications of these results are discussed. Finally, the limitations of the model are discussed, along with directions for future research.
... Weitere relevante gestalterische Elemente von Aufgaben betreffen etwa das vorgegebene Antwortformat: Innerhalb der Literatur zeichnet sich für Multiple-Choice-und Closed-Response-Aufgaben ein Vorteil für männliche Probanden ab (Le, 2009;De-Mars, 1998), während DeMars (1998) Differenzen gerade für die jeweils best-performanten Probandinnen und Probanden besonders groß sind, während sich dieser Effekt umkehrt, wenn die anteilig jeweils schlechtesten Testteilnehmerinnen und -teilnehmer betrachtet werden (z. B. Contini et al., 2017;Fryer & Levitt, 2010;Ellison & Swanson, 2010;Penner & Paret, 2008;Penner, 2003;Xie & Shauman, 2003;Hedges & Novell, 1995). ...
Article
Full-text available
Zusammenfassung: Im Rahmen der FALKE-Erhe-bung zum Funktionalen Denken wurde ein Leistungs-test zu funktionalen Zusammenhängen entwickelt und in Nordrhein-Westfalen mit über 3000 Schülerinnen und Schülern durchgeführt. Gerade für die Sekun-darstufe werden im Rahmen von Meta-Studien ma-thematischen Leistungstests häufig geschlechtsspezi-fische Effekte zu Gunsten des männlichen Ge-schlechts attestiert. Der vorliegende Beitrag analy-siert solche Effekte für die Stichprobe des FALKE-Tests und exploriert, welche Items besonders betrof-fen sind. Es lassen sich Merkmale von Aufgaben im Bereich des Funktionalen Denkens identifizieren, die besonders geschlechtssensitiv wirken. Abstract: Within the FALKE-study an achievement test for functional thinking has been administrated to more than 3000 students in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Especially for the secondary school level meta studies find significant gender specific effects in favor of male test attendants. This article analyzes such effects for the sample of the FALKE-test and explores which items are affected in particular. Item characteristics which favor gender sensitivity of tasks in the field of functional thinking are identified.
... Becker [1985] ascribes occupational segregation to differences in productivity, due to differential household responsibilities. Differences in productivity may also arise as a result of differences in field specific human capital accumulation as a result of gender stereotyping of learning and occupations, (see Ellison and Swanson [2010] and Carlana [2019]). Finally, incomes of men and women may differ as a result of wage discrimination in STEM fields (see for instance Buffington et al. [2016]). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
We propose a model of labor market sector self-selection that combines comparative advantage, as in the Roy model, and sector composition preference. Two groups choose between two sectors based on heterogeneous potential incomes and group compositions in each sector. Potential incomes incorporate group specific human capital accumulation and wage discrimination. Composition preferences are interpreted as reflecting group specific amenity preferences as well as homophily and aversion to minority status. We show that occupational segregation is amplified by the composition preferences and we highlight a resulting tension between redistribution and diversity. The model also exhibits tipping from extreme compositions to more balanced ones. Tipping occurs when a small nudge, associated with affirmative action, pushes the system to a very different equilibrium, and when the set of equilibria changes abruptly when a parameter governing the relative importance of pecuniary and composition preferences crosses a threshold.
... Women now complete more college degrees than men in almost all OECD countries (OECD 2016a), but they remain under-represented in many technical degrees such as Science, Engineering and Mathematics (Turner and Bowen 1999). Evidence from different high-income countries suggests that gender differences in entry into science careers account for a significant part of the gender pay differential among college graduates (Brown and Corcoran 1997, Weinberger 1999, Arcidiacono 2004, Ellison and Swanson 2009, Hastings, Neilson, and Zimmerman 2013, Kinsler and Pavan 2015, Kirkeboen, Leuven, and Mogstad 2016. These different educational choices made by women and men used to be traditionally explained by gender differences in abilities, either innate or acquired. ...
Thesis
Cette thèse étudie l’impact des normes de genre et des institutions sur les choix éducatifs, les décisions d’offre de travail et les préférences politiques. Dans le premier chapitre, nous nous intéressons à l’influence du genre des enfants sur les opinions de leurs pères en matière de droits des femmes. Nous montrons que la présence d’au moins une fille parmi les enfants est associée à des attitudes plus marquées contre l’avortement pour les pères de droite et inversement, plus favorables à l’avortement pour les pères de gauche. Nous développons un modèle théorique dans lequel les pères, qui ont des préférences paternalistes, ont tendance à adopter des positions politiques plus extrêmes lorsqu’ils ont une fille plutôt qu’un garçon. La partie empirique de l’analyse repose sur l’utilisation de deux nouvelles sources de données : une base biographique des députés français, et une enquête post-électorale au niveau européen. Nos résultats suggèrent que les filles polarisent les attitudes de leur père en matière de droit à l’avortement. Ces résultats réconcilient en partie les conclusions contradictoires des travaux récents sur l’influence des filles sur les opinions politiques de leurs pères. Le deuxième chapitre est issu d’un travail commun avec E. Duchini. Nous étudions les décisions d’offre de travail des femmes dans un contexte institutionnel qui limitait jusqu’à récemment leur capacité à bénéficier d’un emploi du temps régulier. Historiquement en France, les enfants en âge d’aller à l’école maternelle et primaire n’avaient pas classe le mercredi. Nous utilisons la réforme dites des rythmes scolaires comme « expérience naturelle ». Avant 2013, les femmes dont le plus jeune enfant était en âge d’aller à l’école élémentaire étaient deux fois plus nombreuses que les hommes à ne pas travailler le mercredi. Afin de mesurer la réaction de l’offre de travail des mères à la réforme, nous utilisons la variation de son application dans le temps et en fonction de l’âge du plus jeune enfant. Nos résultats montrent que la réforme a permis à un plus grand nombre de femmes de travailler le mercredi, entraînant, en moins de deux ans, une réduction d’un tiers de leur différentiel de participation ce jour de la semaine par rapport aux femmes du groupe de contrôle. Cet effet est essentiellement attribuable aux mères pour qui une présence régulière au travail est particulièrement profitable, comme celles qui travaillent à des postes d’encadrement. Le troisième chapitre présente les résultats d’une expérimentation avec assignation aléatoire conduite de septembre 2015 à février 2016 avec T. Breda, J. Grenet et M. Monnet. Cette expérimentation montre que l’intervention courte d’un modèle positif d’identification féminin (role model) peut influencer les attitudes des apprenants, et contribuer ensuite à modifier leur choix d’orientation. Dans un premier temps, nous présentons des éléments descriptifs sur les attitudes différenciées des filles et des garçons vis-à-vis des sciences, et sur l’importance des stéréotypes vis-à-vis des femmes dans les sciences chez les lycéens. A l’aide d’une assignation aléatoire des élèves dans un groupe traité et dans un groupe contrôle, nous étudions l’impact causal des modèles positifs d’identification sur les aspirations, les attitudes et les choix éducatifs. Ces modèles féminins extérieurs font baisser de manière significative la prévalence des visions stéréotypées associées aux métiers dans les sciences, tant chez les élèves filles que garçons. Le traitement n’a pas d’effet significatif sur le choix d’orientation des élèves de seconde, mais la proportion de filles qui s’orientent et sont admises en classe préparatoire scientifique après le lycée augmente de 3 points de pourcentage. Cet effet correspond à une augmentation de 30% par rapport à la moyenne du groupe de contrôle. Ces changements sont principalement attribuables aux élèves ayant les meilleurs résultats scolaires en mathématiques.
... to inefficient social outcomes ( Blau and Kahn, 2017;Buser et al., 2014;Ellison and Swanson, 2010;Paglin and Rufolo, 1990 ). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we estimate unadjusted and adjusted gender gaps in time preference, risk attitudes, altruism, trust, trustworthiness, cooperation, and competitiveness using data on 1088 high school students from 53 classes. These data, collected by running incentivized experiments in Hungarian classrooms, are linked to an administrative data source on the students’ standardized test scores, grades and family background. After taking into account class fixed effects, we find that females are significantly more altruistic, but are less present biased, less risk tolerant, less trusting, less trustworthy, and less competitive than males. At the same time we do not observe significant gender differences in patience, time inconsistency and cooperation at the 5% significance level. We also show that most of these initial gender differences do not change even if we control for age, family background, cognitive skills and school grades in a regression framework. We risk over-control when we include the time spent on each task as well as the other preference domains in our regressions, but the gender gap remains significant in social preferences (altruism, trust and trustworthiness), present bias and competition.
... In most of the Western world, the issue of gender inequity in STEM fields is wellknown along with broader concerns regarding female students' shying away from or under-performing in courses involving computational knowledge and skills [8,9]. Countless studies have focused on uncovering the reasons for the unbalanced presence of women in STEM academic programs and professions and their under-performance concerning computational competency [10][11][12][13], in the hope that systematic interventions can be implemented, and, with time, rectify the status quo. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study was driven by the assumption that a key feature of sustainable education is its ability to preserve standards of quality even amid unforeseen, potentially disruptive events. It asked whether students’ academic success in math general education courses differed between synchronous online (during the COVID-19 pandemic) and face-to-face (before the pandemic), under the ancillary assumption that computational competency, a pillar of sustainable education, shapes enduring success in a variety of professional fields. As the early identification of at-risk students and ensuing remedial interventions can bring about academic success, the study also investigated the predictive validity of students’ initial performance in online and face-to-face math courses. Two general education courses (introductory calculus and statistics), taught by the same instructor, were selected. Class grades did not differ between instructional modes, thereby providing no evidence for the widespread concern that the switch to the online mode had damaged learning. Yet, during the semester, test and homework performance were differentially sensitive to modes of instruction. Furthermore, both test and homework performance during the first half of the semester predicted class grades in online courses, whereas only test performance predicted class grades in face-to-face courses. These results suggest that sustainable math education in times of crisis is feasible and that educators’ consideration of the differential predictive value of test and homework performance may aid its attainment.
... Guiso et al. (2008) using Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data from 40 countries find a positive correlation between the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index (covering aspects of economic participation, education attainment, and health indicators, among others) and gender gap in mathematics. Ellison and Swanson (2010), using data from American Math Competitions, find these differences to widen at the upper end of the distribution i.e. there are much fewer girls among top performers. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mathematical ability is among the most important determinants of prospering in the labour market. Using multiple representative datasets with learning outcomes of over 2 million children from rural India in the age group 8 to 16 years, the paper examines the prevalence of gender gap in performance in mathematics and its temporal variation from 2010 to 2018. Our findings from the regressions show significant gender gap in mathematics, which is not observable for reading skills. This difference in mathematics scores remains prevalent across households of different socio-economic and demographic groups. This gap is found to be persistent over time and it appears to increase as the children get older. We also find significant inter-state variation with the north Indian states lagging behind considerably and the south Indian states showing a reverse gender gap. As an explanation to this, we observe evidence of a robust association between pre-existing gender norms at the household and district level with higher gender gap. The findings, in light of other available evidence on the consequences of such gaps, call for the need to understand these gender specific differences more granularly and periodically to inform gender-specific interventions.
... Robinson & Lubienski (2011) use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999, and find that girls and boys enter kindergarten with similar levels of math ability. However, a gap in math performance, favoring boys, appears as early as first grade; this gap is wider among the top performers in math (see also Ellison & Swanson [2010] who find that girls are underrepresented at the top of the math achievement distribution). Although girls make up some ground over the middle school years, the authors report that the gender gap in math performance persists at the end of eighth grade. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the promising future of employment opportunities in occupations related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), women remain underrepresented in some STEM occupational fields. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to study the role of gender differences in achievement and self-perceived ability in math during childhood, along with parental occupation (science-related versus non-science-related jobs), in the subsequent decision of majoring in science in college. Our findings suggest a loss in STEM enrollment by otherwise qualified young women and highlight the potential importance of parental occupation in STEM in encouraging women's participation in certain STEM fields.
... addition, in many countries the maths achievements among girls are significantly lower than that of boys (Lavy and Sand, 2015). Moreover, there is a higher rate of men who excel in mathematics in all age groups, as well as a higher rate of men in the distribution of achievement in mathematical competitions (Ellison and Swanson, 2010). ...
Article
The professionalization of cultural management in Spain emerged as a complex process in which the demand for professionals anticipated the existence of an academic discipline to support qualified knowledge, giving rise to strong epistemological debates. The main objective of this research paper is to study the development of the profession linked to the political, social, institutional and economic context, finding a recent research gap. The methodological triangulation of the various sources has revealed the importance of public and private systems in the definition of professional competencies, endowing them with a strong technical character that has been reflected in the theoretical development of cultural management. A lack of consensus between professionals, associations, entities and academies has been detected, showing the current fragmentation caused by the interest of certain sectors in maintaining the status quo that existed prior to the academic development of the profession. Scientific involvement in theoretical and educational development is necessary to guarantee adequate professional compliance in the practice of cultural management.
... Third, we contribute to a growing strand of literature that aims to understand the roots of the persistent gender gap in math (for a recent review, see Buckles, 2019). Although the gender gap in education enrollment and labor market participation has dramatically narrowed over the past 50 years, the gender gap in math achievement still persists in most developed countries (Ellison and Swanson, 2010). 3 The reasons for this persistence are still not totally understood: recent research shows that the gender gap in math achievement does not exist upon entry to school, supporting the idea that nurture (e.g., gender stereotypes, culture) rather than nature (e.g., innate biological differences between sexes) determines gender differences in achievement (Hyde and Mertz, 2009;Nosek et al., 2009;Pope and Sydnor, 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
We study the causal impact of intellectually gifted students on their nongifted classmates’ school achievement, enrollment in post-compulsory education, and occupational choices. Using student-level administrative and psychological data, we find a positive effect of exposure to gifted students on peers’ school achievement in both math and language. This impact is heterogeneous: larger effects are observed among male students and high achievers; female students benefit primarily from female gifted students; effects are driven by gifted students not diagnosed with emotional or behavioral disorders. Exposure to gifted students increases the likelihood of choosing a selective academic track and occupations in STEM fields.
... Moreover, the scant empirical research assessing the contribution of different factors has three limitations. First, these studies mainly report negative findings, suggesting, for instance, that gender differentials in mathematics or in the choice of elective subjects in high school fail to account for GSHE (Ellison and Swanson 2010;Frank et al. 2008). While these results are important, they leave our research puzzle without a solution. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines how girls and boys choose their tertiary field of study and how the different factors driving their choices contribute to gender segregation in higher education (GSHE) in France. We present seven theoretical explanations for GSHE, review the relevant literature and discuss their applicability to the French context. Using rich longitudinal data combining administrative sources, students, parents and school head questionnaires, we assess the heuristic value of these explanations. We employ multinomial logit models as well as decomposition techniques for categorical outcome variables. Our results refute explanations arguing that GSHE reflects gender differences in skills or girls’ lower career ambitions. We conclude that curricular differentiation and occupational plans are key drivers of GSHE, even when controlling for ability selection into secondary curricula and for parental and teachers’ gender-stereotypical influences. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2021.1875199.
Article
In the United States, women are more likely than men to enter and complete college, but they remain underrepresented among baccalaureates in science-related majors. We show that in a cohort of college entrants who graduated from high school in 2004, men were more than twice as likely as women to complete baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, including premed fields, and more likely to persist in STEM/biomed after entering these majors by sophomore year. Conversely, women were more than twice as likely as men to earn baccalaureates in a health field, although persistence in health was low for both genders. We show that gender gaps in high school academic achievement, self-assessed math ability, and family-work orientation are only weakly associated with gender gaps in STEM completion and persistence. Gender differences in occupational plans, by contrast, are strongly associated with gender gaps in STEM outcomes, even in models that assume plans are endogenous to academic achievement, self-assessed math ability, and family-work orientation. These results can inform efforts to mitigate gender gaps in STEM attainment.
Article
In their seminal article, Guiso et al. (2008) uncover a positive relationship between several measures of gender equality and the math gender gap (which tends to favor boys) by exploiting cross-sectional variation in PISA test scores from 39 countries - the majority of which belong to the OECD - at a given year (2003). Using five waves of PISA data spanning the period 2003-2015 and exploiting variation both across- and within-countries, we find that the positive association between the female-male gender gap in math test scores and several measures of gender equality vanishes in OECD countries once we account for country fixed effects. Interestingly, our analysis also uncovers a positive and statistically significant association between the math gender gap and several gender equality indicators for countries in the bottom quartile of per capita GDP. This association is robust to controlling for country-level time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity.
Article
We investigate the existence of gender differences in strategic sophistication in two weakly dominance solvable games where a prize is at stake. The first one is the two-person beauty contest, where strategies are numbers and players must perform mathematical operations. The second is the novel “gaze coach game”, where strategies are photographs of the eye region and the two players must assign emotional states to these images. We observe that females follow equilibrium play less often in the former game but not in the latter. Males display greater strategic sophistication variability. As a result, females are underrepresented among top performers in both games.
Article
We study the effect of preferences for boys on the performance in mathematics of girls, using evidence from two different data sources. In our first set of results, we identify families with a preference for boys by using fertility stopping rules in a large population of households whose children attend public schools in Florida. Girls growing up in a boy-biased family score on average 3 percentage points lower on math tests when compared to girls raised in other types of families. In our second set of results, we find similar effects when we study the correlations between girls’ performance in mathematics and maternal gender role attitudes, using evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We conclude that socialization at home can explain a non-trivial part of the observed gender disparities in mathematics performance and document that maternal gender attitudes correlate with those of their children, supporting the hypothesis that preferences transmitted through the family impact children behavior.
Article
Analyzing the test scores of more than 10,000,000 students who participated in the Advanced Placement (AP) math exams from 1997 to 2019, this study examined the direction and magnitude of the trend in gender disparity by race in participation in and top achievement on AP Calculus AB, Calculus BC, and Statistics exams. The results of this study indicated that, in general, females’ representation in all three AP exams increased significantly. Although the findings indicated that the female-to-male ratios (FMRs) in participation in the AP math exams increased significantly from 1997 to 2019 and favored females for all races, the gender disparities among top achievers for all math exams are still substantial. The relationships between the FMRs in participation and top achievement for all AP math exams were also analyzed within races, and the possible impacts of these findings within the context of the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields were also discussed.
Article
Student performance at university is a strong determinant of individual decisions and future outcomes, most notably labour opportunities. Although published studies have found gender differences in student performance in response to pressure, little is known about such differences when university students respond to different levels of pressure, resulting from different stakes. Based on field data, this study aims to examine gender differences in student performance in response to different stakes when sitting multiple choice tests, a frequently employed exam format at university. To do so, the introduction of continuous assessment in the evaluation system of a university course allows us to exploit a unique quasi-experimental set up in which the same students take similar tests throughout the course but under different levels of pressure, i.e. facing different stakes. Exploiting individual student data in a panel data framework, we find that male students outperform their female counterparts when under high pressure. However, as the stakes faced decrease, the gender gap shrinks and even reverses in favour of female students at the lowest pressure scenario. We also analyse possible mechanisms responsible for the observed gender gap by studying whether students excel or choke under pressure depending on their gender, and by studying gender differences when omitting questions on multiple choice tests.
Article
Teacher-rated classroom engagement and student self-reported motivation for mathematics were used to predict mathematics scores in 3rd and 5th grade. Students were grouped based on a combination of biological sex and SES quintiles resulting in 10 independent groups. The mathematics achievement patterns were predicted based upon a combined within-group model. Results indicated female mathematics achievement was not significantly related to self-reported mathematics motivation but was related to classroom engagement. In males, mathematics motivation was not significantly related to achievement for lowest SES males; however, there was a significant relationship for highest quintile class males. Conversely, classroom engagement was significant for lower class males and was not significantly related for highest quintile SES males. Implications of the results are discussed.
Article
Children routinely benefit from being assigned a teacher who shares an identity with them, such as gender or ethnicity. We study how student beliefs impact teacher-student gender match effects, and how this varies across subjects with different societal beliefs about differential ability by gender. A simple model of belief formation yields two predictions: one, that match effects will be larger for students who believe they are of low ability, and two, that they will be greater in subjects where societal beliefs tell the child they are of low ability because of their membership in a given group, such as gender or race. We test these using data from Chinese middle schools, exploiting random assignment of students to teachers. In China, many people believe boys are innately better than girls at math. We find that being assigned a female math teacher helps low-perceived-ability girls and slightly harms low-perceived-ability boys, with no effects for other children. In English and Chinese – subjects where societal beliefs do not suggest boys are superior to girls – the effects of teacher-student gender match on low perceived ability girls diminish or disappear. This yields policy implications for the assignment of teachers to students.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how gender equality influences difference in cognitive skills between genders. For the closer examination of Guiso et al. (2008), restricting the sample to immigrants allows us to reduce the possibility of reverse causality. Design/methodology/approach Using PISA 2012 matched with the gender wage gap sourced from World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Index 2011, the author compares the effect of the wage gap among the areas of mathematics, science and reading. Findings Decreased gender wage gap leads to girls exhibiting a reduced incidence of lateness and skipping school compared with boys, which in turn improves girls’ test scores in mathematics, science and reading. The direct effect of the decreased wage gap on test scores exceeds its indirect effect on performance owing to influencing school attendance. Originality/value The findings of this paper provide evidence that higher female wage level relative to male wage level incentivizes female students to attend school, resulting in their achieving higher test scores not only for mathematics, but also for science and reading.
Article
Using the test scores of more than 2,250,000 students who participated in the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) from 2009 to 2019, this study examined the direction and magnitude of the trends in gender disparity in participation and high achievement in self-select mathematics exams. The results of this study indicated that the male to female ratio among the AMC participants increased significantly from 2009 to 2019. The findings also showed an established disparity that favored males for each year and for all competitions in both the top 1% and 5% levels, while the trend in the male to female ratios over a decade was stable, except for the top 1% of the population in the AMC 8, in which there was a significant increasing trend that favored males. The possible impacts of these findings within the context of the underrepresentation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Low educational qualification, i.e. reaching no or only a very basic educational degree, substantially decreases an individual’s prospects on todays labour market. Emotional stability and conscientiousness are known to be predictive of educational achievement. Nevertheless, the moderating role of these two personality traits on the outcome of low educational qualification, and the interaction with gender are far less explored. In this paper, we use rich data from the British Cohort Study 1970 to analyse the relationship between personality measured in adolescence and educational achievement in adulthood. Our results show that less emotionally stable and less conscientious females have the highest risk of reaching only a low educational qualification. In contrast, more emotionally stable and less conscientious males face an above average risk of reaching a low educational qualification. Our results suggest that neglecting gender differences in the moderating relation of these two personality traits on low educational achievement is likely misleading.
Article
Relative performance feedback (RPF) has often been shown to improve effort and performance in the workplace and educational settings. Yet, many studies also document substantial negative effects of RPF, in particular for low-achievers. We study a novel type of RPF designed to overcome these negative effects of RPF on low-achievers by scoring individual performance improvements. With a sample of 400 children, we conduct a class-wise randomized-controlled trial using an e-learning software in regular teaching lessons in primary schools. We demonstrate that this type of RPF significantly increases motivation, effort, and performance in math for low-achieving children, without hurting high-achieving children. Among low-achievers, those receiving more points and moving up in the ranking improved strongest on motivation and math performance. In an exploratory analysis, we document substantial gender differences in response to this type of RPF: improvements in motivation and learning are much stronger for girls. We argue that using this new type of RPF could potentially reduce inequalities, especially in educational settings.
Article
This article studies gender gap patterns in language and math during primary school periods in China, and investigates candidate theories to explain the observed patterns. Using an administrative test dataset, we find that girls on average outperform boys in language and have advantage in math in primary school. The gaps for language in all quantiles widen consistently over time. Female’s advantages in math in most quantiles, except the lowest, shrink over time. Using a survey on students in primary schools, we find that noncognitive skills can effectively reduce the gender gap in both Chinese and math. This effect is most pronounced for students in the bottom quantile group.
Research
The purpose of this study was to assess the relative effectiveness of three teaching methods on students' academic performance in secondary school Physics. The design of the study was a quasi-experimental pre-test post-test research design using intact classes. A sample of 60 students was randomly selected from three secondary schools in Ekiti South West Local Government Area. The instrument for data collection was Physics Achievement Test (PAT) developed by the researchers for the purpose of examining students' performance in Physics Six hypotheses were postulated at 0.05 level of significance. The results indicated that students taught using Polya's heuristic method performed better than those taught using project-based instruction and lecture methods; The paper recommends among others that Physics teachers should employ appropriate pedagogical methods in order to reduce poor performances in Physics.
Article
This paper studies experimentally whether potential perceived discrimination affects decisions in a labor-market setting with different stereotypes. Participants are assigned to a seven-person group and randomly allocated a role as a firm or worker. In each group, there are five workers and two firms. The only information firms have about each worker is a self-selected avatar (male, female or neutral) representing a worker's gender. Each firm then decides which worker to hire. Female workers react to potential discrimination when they know the task is math-related, but not otherwise. Men choose similar avatar patterns regardless of the task. Men do perform at much higher levels in the math-related task, but there is no difference in performance in the emotion-recognition task, where there is a strong female stereotype.
Article
Full-text available
This study reviews and extends the considerableliterature demonstrating that the various College Boardexaminations (most importantly the Scholastic AptitudeTests) make a small underprediction of women's college grades relative to those of men in allfields except engineering. This finding persists evenwhen corrections are made for differences in the fieldsthat women and men study and for sample selection bias. Because of this underprediction, womenmost probably are underrepresented relative to theirmerit in freshman classes and scholarship competitionsat selective public universities. The differences in predicted grades are small, but account foran underrepresentation of women by at least 5% of thefreshman classes of the University of California atBerkeley (200 to 300 a year) in the late 1980s. Various solutions to this underprediction by the SATsand the dilemmas they pose for public universities suchas Berkeley are explored.
Article
Full-text available
distance between male and female means, in standard deviation units. In each individ- ual meta-analysis, the values of d from multi- ple investigations of the same outcome were weighted by sample size and combined. A total of 124 syn- thesized effect sizes resulting from meta- analysis were extracted from the reports. Fol- lowing convention, d values in the range 0.11 to 0.35 were classi- fied as small, 0.36 to 0.65 as moderate, and 0.66 to 1.00 as large (6). Values greater than 1.0 were categorized as very large and values between 0 and 0.10 were considered trivial.
Article
Full-text available
Used a cognitive process approach to explain gender differences on the math subtest of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). This approach specifies that gender differences exist because male students may carry out certain cognitive operations (e.g., knowledge access, strategy assembly) more effectively than female students. High school students were given SAT items and measures of their prior knowledge and strategies. Results showed that male students performed better than female students on the SAT items. Regression analyses, however, showed that whereas prior knowledge and strategies explained nearly 50% of the variance in SAT scores, gender explained no unique variance. These findings suggest that it is not one's gender that matters as much as one's prior knowledge and strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
Why aren't there more women in science? This paper begins to shed light on this question by exploiting data from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where students are randomly assigned to professors for a wide variety of mandatory standardized courses.We focus on the role of professor gender. Our results suggest that although professor gender has little impact on male students, it has a powerful effect on female students' performance in math and science classes, and high-performing female students' likelihood of taking future math and science courses, and graduating with a STEM degree. The estimates are largest for students whose SAT math scores are in the top 5% of the national distribution. The gender gap in course grades and STEM majors is eradicated when high-performing female students are assigned to female professors in mandatory introductory math and science coursework.
Article
Full-text available
Standardized tests in the U.S. indicate that girls now score just as well as boys in math.
Article
Full-text available
In high school and college, men and women take significantly different courses. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the National Longitudinal Study class of 1972, the authors relate these differences in school content to sex differences in adult wages. Differences in field of highest degree account for a significant part of the male-female wage gap among college graduates, but differences in coursework account for little of the equally large wage gap between men and women with less schooling. Among college graduates, there is some evidence that the reward for taking male majors is larger for men. Copyright 1997 by University of Chicago Press.
Article
Full-text available
Analysis of PISA results suggests that the gender gap in math scores disappears in countries with a more gender-equal culture.
Article
Full-text available
Although women have matched or surpassed men in many educational outcomes, female students remain much less likely to major in quantitative, technical, and science-related fields. This under-representation may have serious implications for women's returns to education, occupational segregation, and earnings inequality. To address this problem, some suggest increasing mentoring opportunities for female students by hiring more women faculty members. This paper examines whether the presence of same-gender faculty members affects student interest in a subject using a comprehensive, longitudinal dataset of nearly 54,000 students. To address selection issues, we employ an instrumental variables strategy. The results suggest that female instructors do positively influence course selection and major choice in some disciplines thus supporting a possible role model effect. The findings provide insight into the potential impacts of policies designed to increase female representation on college faculties.
Article
Full-text available
We consider the gender pay gap in the United States. Both gender-specific factors, including gender differences in qualifications and discrimination, and overall wage structure, the rewards for skills and employment in particular sectors, importantly influence the gender pay gap. Declining gender differentials in the U.S., and the more rapid closing of the gender pay gap in the U.S. than elsewhere, appear to be primarily due to gender-specific factors. However, the relatively large gender pay gap in the U.S. compared to a number of other advanced countries seems primarily attributable to the very high level of U.S. wage inequality. Francine D. Blau Lawrence M. Kahn School of Industrial and School of Industrial and Labor Relations Labor Relations Cornell University Cornell University 265 Ives Hall 264 Ives Hall Ithaca, NY 14853-3901 Ithaca, NY 14853-3901 and NBER lmk12@cornell.edu fdb4@cornell.edu Over the past 25 years, the gender pay gap has narrowed dramatic...
Article
Contemporary research on sex differences in intellectual abilities has focused on male-female differences in average performance, implicitly assuming homogeneity of variance. To examine the validity of that assumption, this article examined sex differences in variability on the national norms of several standardized test batteries. Males were consistently more variable than females in quantitative reasoning, spatial visualization, spelling, and general knowledge. Because these sex differences in variability were coupled with corresponding sex differences in means, it was demonstrated that sex differences in variability and sex differences in central tendency have to be considered together to form correct conclusions about the magnitude of cognitive gender differences.
Article
This chapter summarizes the lessons learned from the over 25 years of research conducted by the Center for Talented Youth, as well as the prior 10 years of research conducted by Dr Julian Stanley and his graduate students. This summary also includes work done by the several other talent searches (Duke, Northwestern and Rocky Mountain), although a complete description of their work can be found in the individual articles written by each. The findings from the hundreds of research studies conducted validate the talent search identification model and process, as well as the programs developed to meet the needs of identified students. In addition, the authors have condensed the findings from numerous research projects examining the cognitive, social, personality and academic development of the students CTY serves.
Article
The SAT has been shown to be both culturally and statistically biased against African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. In this article, Roy Freedle argues for a corrective scoring method, the Revised-SAT (R-SAT), to address the nonrandom ethnic test bias patterns found in the SAT. The R-SAT, which scores only the "hard" items on the test, is shown to reduce the mean-score difference between African American and White SAT test-takers by one-third. Further, the R-SAT shows an increase in SAT verbal scores by as much as 200 to 300 points for individual minority test-takers. Freedle also argues that low-income White examinees benefit from the revised score as well. He develops several cognitive and cultural hypotheses to explain the ethnic regularities in responses to various test items. Freedle concludes by offering some predictions as to how ethnic populations are likely to be affected by the new designs currently being proposed for the SAT, and describes the implications of the R-SAT for increasing minority admission to select colleges.
Article
The connection, if any, between gender (or other demographic factors) and mathematical skills has been much discussed in the popular and scientific press. In this study, the authors investigate ultrahigh-level mathematical ability by looking at top tier mathematics competitions and find that girls and boys do equally well.
Article
Low representation in the extreme upper tail of the mathematics test score distribution is often assumed to explain the small numbers of women in engineering, mathematics, computer science and physical science (EMS) college majors and careers. However, this study finds that fewer than one-third of the college-educated white men in the EMS workforce had SAT-Math scores above the threshold previously presumed in the literature. The lower-scoring male EMS college graduates have more than an empty credential; they enjoy the same earnings advantage, relative to other college graduates with the same scores, as high scoring EMS majors. This study also finds that white women enter EMS fields at no more than half the rate of men with the same mathematics test scores. Both the large gender gap and the low ability threshold for EMS entry are robust to modeling mathematics test scores as a noisy measure of ability.
Article
A cross-cultural quantitative review of contemporary findings of gender differences in variability in verbal, mathematical, and spatial abilities was conducted to assess the generalizability of U.S. findings that (a) males are more variable than females in mathematical and spatial abilities, and (b) the sexes are equally variable in verbal ability. No consistent gender differences (variance ratios) were found across countries in any of the three broad ability domains. Instead, males were more variable than females in some nations and females were more variable than males in other nations. Thus, the well-established U.S. findings of consistently greater male variability in mathematical and spatial abilities were not invariant across cultures and nations.
Article
We document and analyze the emergence of a substantial gender gap in mathematics in the early years of schooling using a large, recent, and nationally representative panel of US children. There are no mean differences between boys and girls upon entry to school, but girls lose more than two-tenths of a standard deviation relative to boys over the first six years of school. The ground lost by girls relative to boys is roughly half as large as the black-white test score gap that appears over these same ages. We document the presence of this gender math gap across every strata of society. We explore a wide range of possible explanations in the data, including less investment by girls in math, low parental expectations, and biased tests, but find little support for these theories. Moving to cross-country comparisons, we find earlier results linking the gender gap in math to measures of gender equality are sensitive to the inclusion of Muslim countries, where, in spite of women's low status, there is little or no gender gap in math. (JEL I23, J26)
Article
Genetic and other biological explanations have reemerged in recent scholarship on the underrepresentation of women in mathematics and the sciences. This study engages this debate by using international data-including math achievement scores from the Third International Mathematics and Sciences Study and country-level data from the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, the World Values Survey, and the International Social Survey Programme-to demonstrate the importance of social factors and to estimate an upper bound for the impact of genetic factors. The author argues that international variation provides a valuable opportunity to present simple and powerful arguments for the continued importance of social factors. In addition, where previous research has, by and large, focused on differences in population means, this work examines gender differences throughout the distribution. The article shows that there is considerable variation in gender differences internationally, a finding not easily explained by strictly biological theories. Modeling the cross-national variation in gender differences with country-level predictors reveals that differences among high achievers are related to gender inequality in the labor market and differences in the overall status of men and women.
Article
Using contemporary data from the U.S. and other nations, we address 3 questions: Do gender differences in mathematics performance exist in the general population? Do gender differences exist among the mathematically talented? Do females exist who possess profound mathematical talent? In regard to the first question, contemporary data indicate that girls in the U.S. have reached parity with boys in mathematics performance, a pattern that is found in some other nations as well. Focusing on the second question, studies find more males than females scoring above the 95th or 99th percentile, but this gender gap has significantly narrowed over time in the U.S. and is not found among some ethnic groups and in some nations. Furthermore, data from several studies indicate that greater male variability with respect to mathematics is not ubiquitous. Rather, its presence correlates with several measures of gender inequality. Thus, it is largely an artifact of changeable sociocultural factors, not immutable, innate biological differences between the sexes. Responding to the third question, we document the existence of females who possess profound mathematical talent. Finally, we review mounting evidence that both the magnitude of mean math gender differences and the frequency of identification of gifted and profoundly gifted females significantly correlate with sociocultural factors, including measures of gender equality across nations.
Article
This paper discusses the prevalence of Silicon Valley-style localizations of individual manufacturing industries in the United States. A model in which localized industry-specific spillovers, natural advantages, and random chance contribute to geographic concentration motivates new indices of geographic concentration and coagglomeration. The indices contain controls that facilitate cross-industry and cross-country comparisons. The authors find almost all industries to be more concentrated than a random dart-throwing model predicts but the degree of localization is often slight. They also discuss which industries are concentrated, the geographic scope of localization, coagglomeration patterns, and other topics. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.
Article
Human capital models have mainly focused on the rate of return to investment in a homogeneous stock of capital. Yet, individuals have different initial attributes that determine comparative advantage in producing different types of human capital. The authors find that mathematical ability is an important determinant of field choice for college students and that differences in earnings across fields are largely explained as a return to the use of scarce quantitative abilities in the production of each type of human capital. The model successfully accounts for the observed male-female differences in earnings and occupational choices of recent college graduates. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.
Article
International testing results show greater variance in boys' scores than in girls' scores.
Article
Reviewers have consistently concluded that males perform better on mathematics tests than females do. To make a refined assessment of the magnitude of gender differences in mathematics performance, we performed a meta-analysis of 100 studies. They yielded 254 independent effect sizes, representing the testing of 3,175,188 Ss. Averaged over all effect sizes based on samples of the general population, d was -0.05, indicating that females outperformed males by only a negligible amount. For computation, d was -0.14 (the negative value indicating superior performance by females). For understanding of mathematical concepts, d was -0.03; for complex problem solving, d was 0.08. An examination of age trends indicated that girls showed a slight superiority in computation in elementary school and middle school. There were no gender differences in problem solving in elementary or middle school; differences favoring men emerged in high school (d = 0.29) and in college (d = 0.32). Gender differences were smallest and actually favored females in samples of the general population, grew larger with increasingly selective samples, and were largest for highly selected samples and samples of highly precocious persons. The magnitude of the gender difference has declined over the years; for studies published in 1973 or earlier d was 0.31, whereas it was 0.14 for studies published in 1974 or later. We conclude that gender differences in mathematics performance are small. Nonetheless, the lower performance of women in problem solving that is evident in high school requires attention.
Article
A substantial sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability (score on the mathematics test of the Scholastic Aptitude Test) in favor of boys was found in a study of 9927 intellectually gifted junior high school students. Our data contradict the hypothesis that differential course-taking accounts for observed sex differences in mathematical ability, but support the hypothesis that these differences are somewhat increased by environmental influences.
Article
Sex differences in central tendency, variability, and numbers of high scores on mental tests have been extensively studied. Research has not always seemed to yield consistent results, partly because most studies have not used representative samples of national populations. An analysis of mental test scores from six studies that used national probability samples provided evidence that although average sex differences have been generally small and stable over time, the test scores of males consistently have larger variance. Except in tests of reading comprehension, perceptual speed, and associative memory, males typically outnumber females substantially among high-scoring individuals.
  • Kenneth A Frank
  • Chandra Miller
  • Kathryn S Schiller
  • Catherine Riegle-Crumb
  • Anna Strassman Mueller
  • Robert Crosnoe
  • Jenniver Pearson
Frank, Kenneth A., Chandra Miller, Kathryn S. Schiller, Catherine Riegle-Crumb, Anna Strassman Mueller, Robert Crosnoe, and Jenniver Pearson (2008): " The Social Dynamics of Mathematics Coursetaking in High School, " American Journal of Sociology, 113 (6), 1645–1696.
  • Janet Hyde
  • Marcia C Shibley
  • Linn
Hyde, Janet Shibley, and Marcia C. Linn (2006): " Gender Similarities in Mathematics and Science, " Science 314, 599-600.
Mathematics Grade: 12 Block: 2005-12M12 No
  • Subject
Subject: Mathematics Grade: 12 Block: 2005-12M12 No.: 16
Science Competencies for Tomorrow's World
  • Economic Organization
  • Co-Operation
  • Development
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2006): PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow's World. Paris: OECD.
Gender Differences in Achievement, IEA's Third International Mathematics and Science Study
  • Ina V S Mullis
  • O Michael
  • Edward G Martin
  • Amie L Fierros
  • Steven E Goldberg
  • Stemler
Mullis, Ina V. S., Michael O. Martin, Edward G. Fierros, Amie L. Goldberg, and Steven E. Stemler (2000): Gender Differences in Achievement, IEA's Third International Mathematics and Science Study. International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.
Women in Science: Career Processes and Outcomes
  • Yu Xie
  • Kimberlee A Shauman
Xie, Yu, and Kimberlee A. Shauman (2003): " Women in Science: Career Processes and Outcomes. " Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts. Subject: Mathematics Grade: 12 Block: 2005-12M12 No.: 3
of Education, National Center for Education Statistics: Common Core of Data: Public School Data
  • U S Dept
U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics: Common Core of Data: Public School Data, 2006-2007, available at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/bat/.
Census of Population and Housing, 2000: Summary File 1
  • U S Dept
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (2000): Census of Population and Housing, 2000: Summary File 1. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.