Are girls really worse at math than boys

May 19th, 2015
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Mathematics has a girl problem. Although girls achieve at equal levels to boys in middle and high school, many girls stop taking math as soon as they can. Girls are also much less likely than boys to enter math-intensive college majors and, later, careers.

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Mathematics has a girl problem. Although girls achieve at equal levels to boys in middle andhigh school, many girls stop taking math as soon as they can. Girls are also much less likelythan boys to enter math-intensive college majors and, later, careers. Gender researchershave shown that the root of this girl problem is not differences in innate math skills, butrather the contexts in which students learn mathcontexts that give girls lessencouragement and less confidence in their math abilities. Eager to address this girlproblem, educators and policymakers usually respond: okay, so how do we fix thegirls? But, according to Jo Boaler, its the math classrooms, not the girls, which really needfixing.Boaler, a Professor of Math Education in Stanfords School of Education, explained in arecent presentation why traditional ways of teaching math through rote memorization justarent cutting it. Her research shows that by simply changing the way math is taught, genderdifferences in math achievement and math confidence disappear.Are girls really worse at math?Boaler is often asked whether the girl problem is just a gene problem. Americans tend tounderstand gender differences in math achievement as unchangingunchangeabledifferences in the way that boys and girls think. Girls just arent hard wired for math, somesay. But decades of research proves this assumption wrong. For one, gender gaps in mathachievement have rapidly declined ove

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