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No Gap Found In Math Abilities of Girls, Boys

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the anything-you-can-compute dept.

Math 701

sciencehabit writes "For anyone who still believes that boys are better at math than girls, a massive new study published today in Science shows there's no difference. 'Among students with the highest test scores, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one. Among Asians, however, that result was nearly reversed. Hyde says that suggests that cultural and social factors, not gender alone, influence how well students perform on tests.' But the researchers do note a disturbing trend towards omitting harder kinds of math questions from standardized tests."

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I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337473)

I, for one, welcome our equal sex overlords.

Can it be time? (2, Funny)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337501)

I want more women in my IT department! Too bad nothing will come from this...

(even if anything does come from this, it'll probably take a decade or two, which makes me feel old already)

Re:Can it be time? (3, Interesting)

gardenwall2 (1209418) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337899)

Three out of eight in the department I work in are women. But only one of us started in IT. My background is music business administration and ending up in computers because a computer was donated to the not-for-profit I worked for in the early 1980's, and I couldn't stand to see it just sitting there not being used. However, I have noticed over years that it's a field dominated by men. Is it just me, or are men more curious than women about IT and other related areas in general?

Re:Can it be time? (5, Interesting)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338029)

Men do tend to be more interested in technical things. In fact, the cog. sci. department has a related hypothesis that they're currently testing. The hypothesis is that Asperger's syndrome and the autistic spectrum is just the extreme case of the male brain (literally: testosterone poisoning).

What! (5, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337503)

Next they'd have you believe that girls fart and use the internet too... I'm not buying it!

Re:What! (1)

EnrikeKr (1268748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337687)

Hahahahahahaha... That's funny.... And Kill Rates [killrates.com] thinks so...

Re:What! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337773)

girls don't fart, they "foof"

Re:What! (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337953)

When my wife goes to the bathroom, I have to remind myself that she isn't trying to replicate Harry's Dumb and Dumber toilet scene [youtube.com] . No... she's just a woman, and unfortunately just my wife.

Re:What! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24338097)

When my wife goes to the bathroom,

Nothing good ever begins with that phrase...

Nonsense (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337531)

I'm a boy, and I've met girls who I'm better at math than.

Therefore boys are better at math than girls.

Heh, stupid girls probably can't even follow simple basic logic like that ;-)

Re:Nonsense (4, Funny)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338079)

I can follow the logic, just not the logic that led you to the structure of your first sentence.

Re:Nonsense (3, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338173)

I agree. He should have used "whom" as the object of "than." :P

Re:Nonsense (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338177)

Well boys may be good at maths, but sentence structure is not our strong point

What? (3, Insightful)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337533)

Among students with the highest test scores, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one.

Ok then, so in most of the western world, boys are better than girls at maths...

Re:What? (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337599)

Among students with the highest test scores, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one.

Among students, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337655)

According to TFA more girls than boys do the SAT, doesn't give whether more boys than girls did other tests, but the article implies girls outnumber boys.

It also says boys do 7% better in the maths portion of the SATs, but writes it off as a statistical illusion due to more girls doing the test (they don't know how averages work?).
I bet it wouldn't be a statistical illusion if the girls where the ones getting 7% better.

Re:What? (3, Interesting)

adonoman (624929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338091)

What has happened is that a culture has formed among guys who don't do great in school that going to college is a waste of time. Women in general have less of this, and are more likely to try for college regardless of previous academic success. As a result, fewer guys take the SATs, but those that do represent tend to come from stronger academic backgrounds, raising the average for guys.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337657)

Right, but what they're trying to emphasize is that gender is not the discriminating factor. Rather, culture is. So your statement is kind of misleading in that it emphasizes gender as the discriminating factor, and subjugates "western world" into a circumstantial factor.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337751)

The article is much more misleading than my statement though, it claims girls are equal to boys at maths, then says boys are better (at least white boys and the average SAT taking boy).

The title shouldn't be "Girls = Boys at Math", it should be "Boys better than Girls at maths, but for cultural reasons, not gender related reasons."
I imagine that this title would never be chosen because it's either not politically correct enough, or not attention grabbing, regardless of it's accuracy

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337915)

Yeah c'mon now, everyone knows that if males are better at something than Females it is a statistical anomaly or someone is a sexist pig (what's everyone's favorite thrown around word? Misogyny!). Now if Girls score higher or are better at something than Boys of course it will get praised as truth and gospel. We live in a Politically correct world where Girls must be better than Guys at something, even if it wastes billions of dollars of tax payer money for it. When will people understand that equality doesn't mean "do the reverse".

Grrl Power?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338143)

My sister (we're twins) consistently kicked my ass at math and just about everything else, right up until we got to 10th grade or thereabouts. Then she turned into a vacuous fashion fiend with god-awful grades who liked hanging out with other vacuous fashion fiends.

I think peer pressure has a lot to do with how kids perform at things like math. Math is not cool, therefore if you want to be cool then you have to suck at math, or generally just suck at school.

I always got good grades, but I was also good at sports and generally avoided the "jock" scene and the do-nothing i'm-so-cool rich kid crowds. I'm kind of proud at having been able to achieve that balance.

Thankfully she grew out of it eventually, but not in time to do rather badly in high school. It's just as well she didn't need a scholarship to pay her way through college (where she did pretty good).

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

IAAE (1302511) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337675)

Although they may be able to say that there is a statistically significant difference between the performance of white boys and white girls, they can only say this is true for the U.S., not for the entire western world. Similarly, it would be incorrect to say that in all "Asian" countries that girls are better than boys at math from the results of their study.

Re:What? (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337837)

Well yes, I only read about half of TFA when posting that. But the vast majority of people in the US are White AFAIK, so unless the results for asian are very phenomenally skewed in favour of girls, the overall average should show that boys are better

What does it mean for boys to be better? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337811)

Depends. There are a lot of words in the article, but few figures, which makes the meaning of the key phrases ambiguous. Does "no gender difference in scores" mean simply that the hypothesis that the mean score is the same can be maintained at a reasonable confidence interval? Or did they also analyse the standard deviations? I can well believe that the mean scores are the same but that the boys have more outliers. In that case, to say that boys are better than girls at maths or to say that they aren't is a subjective choice.

Re:What does it mean for boys to be better? (4, Insightful)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337929)

The way many studies show this is that the average scores for boys and girls are roughly equal, with boys slightly outperforming girls, however girls tend to have a much lower deviation, most girls score about average, whereas boys are much more likely to score either very high or very low.

My problem with this article is that it writes off a 7% difference as an illusion. And doesn't actually give any of the figures, just results (which I can't really trust without figures, especially after how the one figure they do include contradicts the article headline)

Re:What? (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337987)

That also might mean that black girls are twice as smart as the black boys. That doesn't sound far-fetched.

Re:What? (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338141)

No it doesn't, and if true it would make it more likely that TFA is correct, since it only quotes White and Asian people's results (without figures of course), I'd imagine that with Asian AND black girls outperforming the boys then overall the results may be roughly equal.

Of course if the boys are overall better, don't worry, that 7% is just an illusion.

Re:What? (5, Funny)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338153)

Americans are better at counting than Brits, as Brits seem to think there is more than one math.

Re:What? (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338235)

I'm Irish you insensitive clod.

The Important Question.... (4, Insightful)

tb()ne (625102) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337535)

Was the study conducted by a male or a female?

Re:The Important Question.... (5, Funny)

gparent (1242548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337743)

Because obviously if it was conducted by a male, it will be biased toward boys and if it was conducted by a female, it will be biased toward girls, right?

Thus, I hereby suggest hiring a transsexual robot to lead the next survey.

Re:The Important Question.... (3, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337765)

No you insensitive clod, because if it was done by men the quantification would be way off!

Re:The Important Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337955)

No, if it was conducted by a female it would be biased toward boys with the additional finding that girls are being "held down" and Title IX needs a steroid boost.

Re:The Important Question.... (0)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338199)

No, because a girl would have messed up the math while distracted due to a smudge in her make-up and botched the results. Duh.

Re:The Important Question.... (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337957)

5 females. Perhaps there should be a study of studies where the authors themselves exhibit no gender gap to authors that exhibit one.

Janet S. Hyde
Sara M. Lindberg
Marcia C. Linn
Amy B. Ellis
Caroline C. Williams

Real Story is (4, Insightful)

daveatneowindotnet (1309197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337543)

Boys test scores have been degrading for years as classrooms are intentionally made more "girl-friendly". Parity thru hamstringing if you ask me.

Re:Real Story is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337815)

at Harrison Bergeron High...?

Re:Real Story is (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337825)

How does correcting an unfair imbalance equal hamstringing? More attention was paid to boys, and they did better. Now that teachers are giving more time to girls and teaching in a more gender neutral fashion, the scores are becoming more equal. If I give you something that I don't give to others, and then I take some of that away from you in order to more fairly distribute it, I am not hamstringing you.

Its sad, so many people have gotten used to having unfair advantage, they consider it their birthright. White males tend to be the worst whiners.

Re:Real Story is (5, Interesting)

Dave114 (168228) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338193)

How does correcting an unfair imbalance equal hamstringing? More attention was paid to boys, and they did better. Now that teachers are giving more time to girls and teaching in a more gender neutral fashion, the scores are becoming more equal.

As mentioned on 60 minutes [cbsnews.com] , "Girls outperform boys in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, and graduate school".

Does that sound very equal to you?

It goes somewhat against the grain of this report, but what this study seems to indicate is that, relative to their performance in other subject areas, girls aren't doing well in math.

Re:Real Story is (2, Insightful)

adri (173121) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338221)

Of course, there's not enough information in TFA nor in the research.

If you give more of math to boys, and they develop better at it, do you know if you've challenged them and developed them to their maximum? If you take some away and redistribute it to the girls (or across racism/cultural/religious/socioeconomic/etc) then are you still challenging -any- of them to their maximum?

I'm white, and I'm whining because I don't want to see more dumb people.

Re:Real Story is (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337893)

Back in my day, Our math teacher would call on girls ask them a really tough question then after the wrong answer was given: " of course you don't know you're just a silly girl!" So if being "girl friendly" is not doing that, its an improvement. I think he was trying to be funny in an ironic sense, but really it was just too close to being blatant sexism for the irony to work.

Re:Real Story is (2, Interesting)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338051)

My technical drawing teacher did that, but it was always taken for what it was, a joke, no-one got butthurt about the sexism of an old mans joke and the girls in the class went on to get good results, and they acknowledge that the teacher helped them with a lot of it.
I'm sure if they spent all their time getting offended they wouldn't have done nearly as well.

Re:Real Story is (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338077)

Always whining. Girls are half the student body, might as well accomodate them. What, boys not smart enough to deal with that?

I don't understand this gender difference swinging (0)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337553)

Isn't this a bit sexist? Just don't care and respect women, that's what is needed. No need to show if someone is superior or not.

Re:I don't understand this gender difference swing (5, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337849)

Well, the idea is to see if there are any differences. Sexism is only sexism if it's baseless. If you have something like this to demonstrate that there are differences between the genders, then making decisions based on those differences is qualified. However, like they said, there is no difference. The smartest person in my school in every subject that I took in my last year of high school was female (except Music, but there were only 3 people). Of course, anecdotal evidence, take it with a grain of salt. The point is that finding out that there are no differences makes any attempts to make decisions based on gender alone an offensive and ignorant thing.

Re:I don't understand this gender difference swing (1, Troll)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338211)

Nazis used all kinds of "science" to make their point, they didn't just declare other races as inferior, they used scientists to base their claims. See my point? In TFA science is used in sex battle, to compare two sexes, which is sexist by nature. More than that they compare races, implying that asian men are inferior to asian women and inferior to white men.
Thank you, this is stupidest and not politically correct article I ever read in last 10 years, coming most likely from feminist "doctor".

Re:I don't understand this gender difference swing (-1, Troll)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338109)

Respect is the last thing white women want. Seriously, most white girls LOVE to be treated like shit. Its why I refuse to date white women even though I am as white as can be. Women from other cultures don't seem to have this whole "the less respect you give me, the more pussy I give you" mentality that most white women have. I'll get modded as flamebait, but I don't really care.

Conflicting results? (4, Insightful)

LeafOnTheWind (1066228) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337557)

Wait so:

result 1: While previously it had been believed that boys solved harder mathematics questions more adeptly, that trend has been reversed.

result 2: Our standardized test material contained no hard mathematics questions.

Does anyone see anything wrong with this? Their results may be true, but that doesn't mean the study was valid.

Re:Conflicting results? (2, Insightful)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337691)

Does seem like the study was designed to reach a predetermined conclusion, doesn't it?

Re:Conflicting results? (2, Insightful)

PsychosisC (620748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337895)

1. The study doesn't concern itself with hard mathematical questions. It is based on common math tests, aka No Child Left Behind mandated state tests.

2. The fact that the standardized test material contained "not many" (different from "no") hard mathematical questions is an aside from the point and conclusion of the study.

3. There is no trend reversal. It just shows that mathematical proficiency with respect appears to be very dependent on cultural factors. The study still shows that boys are better than math, just only among whites.

There might be problems with the study, but if so, they are a lot more subtle than you seem to believe.

Re:Conflicting results? (1)

DCheesi (150068) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338237)

But one of the gap hypotheses was that girls are better at basic computation, while boys (either on average or at the extremes of ability) are better at complex theoretical math. If you eliminate the harder problems, you're largely eliminating the complex mental gymnastics that the hypothesis proposes to be male-favoring. What you're left with is proportionally more computation (number crunching), which would favor the female skill-set. So the decline in difficult questions could very well explain the reduction in the gap at higher grade levels, where those harder questions used to be introduced...

Re:Conflicting results? (2, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337907)

At least they half acknowledged that by lowering the overall standard the results were no longer valid, even if it was mentioned only in passing and not the focus of the article. Now, if it wasn't for the misleading headline and all that text...

I don't doubt that girls can be equally good at math as boys, but I've noticed that the interest is often just not there. And that's the real reason why men outnumber women in the math-intensive fields of science. Not because we're better at it, but because we're actually interested.

Re:Conflicting results? (1)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337989)

Result 1: While previously it had been believed that boys scored (marginally) higher on standardized math tests, this small gap has recently been eliminated up until high school. For certain cultural breakdowns (white boys vs. white girls), the high scores were dominated 2 to 1 by males. For other breakdowns (Asian boys vs. Asian girls) the trend reversed. Once they hit high school, boys seem better at solving more complex problems. Researchers conclude that cultural and social factors are contributing factors to this discepency.

Result 2: Not many state tests have hard math questions. This is consistent with Result 1 if they use federal tests (eg. SAT) or those state tests which do have hard math questions to evaluate whether boys seem better at solving complex problems. They may also mean that boys are better at solving the most complex problems on the not-so-complex state tests.

Re:Conflicting results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24338049)

I always have a good laugh when a random slashdotter thinks they've blown a hole in studies designed by dozens of trained faculty at the nations top research institutions, and published in a peer-reviewed journal that has one of the highest impact factors out there.

Question to the OP:

did you read the publication, or just the news article?

If you didn't read the publication, don't bother commenting, since the 'news' articles based on pubs rarely describe what was actually tested for or found.

Maybe because (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337573)


Technology (Internet, computers) have evened out the playing field, so modern girls don't have to suffer from the dogma and can use the tools at hand without artificial barriers.

Re:Maybe because (3, Insightful)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338069)

In Western culture, pull a string on a Barbie and she'll say "Math is hard!"

Maybe we are all equally capable at math and cultural factors hold us back rather than propel us forward (example, technology). If anything, our ability to rely on technology is holding us back - as an example, its a culture shock for a lot of freshman college students to not use calculators.

Re:Maybe because (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338219)


Well, hence my point about the dogma, which it seems we are in agreement. However, technology as a tool is imperative for pushing our species to the next evolutionary level. However, I know in some of my upper level math courses, a calculator wasn't even needed. If I needed a calculator to do lines upon lines of redundant calculation, I would have died of boredom.

All that being said, I know about twelveteen ways to do long division. sic.

Explanation (4, Funny)

sjonke (457707) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337589)

The math in this study was done by girls.

obligatory xkcd ref (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24338025)

How it Works [xkcd.com]

Almost in MN (4, Funny)

peipas (809350) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337623)

I was just commenting about this with a coworker this morning, and how the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicates Minnesota high school girls are still lagging behind boys. I said we just need to bump down the high school boys' performance a couple notches and we'll be good: no child left behind!

Re:Almost in MN (1)

gardenwall2 (1209418) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337947)

"No child left behind." My translation: "Dumb down the schools so the bright child stagnates."

Why ever claimed there is a difference? (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337637)

I always thought the claim was that boys (after a certain age) have a better spacial judgment than girls, and that perhaps can translate into some very narrow and specific 3d geometry problem solving abilities (since presumably boys might have a better 3d visualization ability as a consequence).

But the claim always seemed a bit tenuous and overstated.

Increase a number of dimensions by one or more and spacial visualization in 3d advantage disappears and one has to use pure intellect to see anyway.

Re:Why ever claimed there is a difference? (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338189)

What? You mean you can't visualize 4, 5 and N dimensional spaces? Clearly you must not be a guy.

Girls, whats that? (1)

Thrazzle (214721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337639)

Girls?!? Whats that?

Is that a new Linux distro without a Pentium flaw?

About Linux users and girls: (2)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337697)

I disagree that Linux users don't have girlfriends. In fact it looks like your average Linux user is in his 30s, married, has one or two kids and complains that his kids are horribly behaved, and therefore is miserable.

But is it valid? (0)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337649)

Yea, old news, I saw all of the reports yesterday. But they never mentioned if the math in this study was done by a boy or a girl, and if it was by a girl it might have been bad math.

More on point, I would be interested in knowing what agenda the people who did this study were operating under. While it may well be a valid result, it also just might be the politically correct answer that someone wanted to get, and anyone who questions it will be labeled sexist (or even modded down if they do it on Slashdot).

A girl answered a math problem? (3, Interesting)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337693)

You know what that means...A WITCH! - Family Guy

I've been sort of disheartened by the quality of math instruction in the US lately, and it's got nothing to do with gender. It certainly seems like newer students lack a lot of the critical math skills that were drilled into my head years ago, based on my limited exposure to new people entering the job market/taking the occasional class here and there.

Ok. But let's look at the study a bit closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337711)

This is a highly publicized story about nothing. The results of the study were actually that the standardized tests that were analyzed were faulty in that they didn't provide questions that required critical analysis. (I don't know if they refer to this in Science, but they did in the CNN article about the same study.)

So we're publicizing this study, even though the "results" (that there is no gender difference in mathematical ability) it's based on are admittedly faulty.

This is a political matter, not a scientific matter. If you're a true scientist, you'll ignore it. Not that I'm against the idea of gender equality in mathematics - I believe that this is an interesting, outstanding question. However, the hasty results of this study hinder our quest for the scientific truth of the matter.

obviously (3, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337721)

Did anyone really expect there to be a gap in ability? I hope not... I always figured the gap was in interest, and the real debate is whether or not that gap in interest is inherent in some way or is just the result of our culture and the way people are raised and socialized.

easy deduction: (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337725)

white boys should breed with asian girls, creating an uberrace of math chomping supergenius kids

i for one welcome our eurasian einsteinchan overlords

Re:easy deduction: (1)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338157)

i for one welcome our eurasian einsteinchan overlords

It would never work out. They'd make well engineered high performance cars, and yet suffer from a complete lack of ability to drive them, thus dooming the race to extinction via traffic accidents.

A root cause you'll never hear about (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337731)

Other girls.

Seriously. Anyone who has dated a geek girl knows that misogyny is a drop in the bucket compared to the problem that girls geared toward science and math face from other girls who will be absolutely VICIOUS in putting them down.

The reason this never gets debated is simple. It would blow apart the entire "sisterhood" myth of feminism. To admit that there are a number of women who use "girliness" as a cudgel to beat the tar out of intelligent women, while there are a number of men who actually want an intelligent, educated mate, would be to force them to admit that women, not "the patriarchy," are really what's keeping the culture stagnant.

Re:A root cause you'll never hear about (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338139)

Anyone who has dated a geek girl knows that misogyny is a drop in the bucket compared to the problem that girls geared toward science and math face from other girls who will be absolutely VICIOUS in putting them down.

All that proves is that girls have tribal behavior just like boys, and will ostracize anyone who is different. That says nothing about the *average* intrinsic abilities of men and women.

Personally, I don't understand why there is even any debate that men and women are different. Somehow we're supposed to believe that men and women are physically different in nearly every way -- except for the brain. Evolution clearly decided to make the brains identical for political reasons.

People need to lighten up. We're talking about averages. Women can have traditionally male traits, and men can have traditionally female traits.

On the other hand, consider this, just to introduce some controversy (:D) -- there is no case where the world's best female athlete can beat the world's best male athlete at any physical sport. Could this truth also apply to certain narrow cases of neurology? [either male or female].

Re:A root cause you'll never hear about (2, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338169)

"The patriarchy" doesn't mean guys all got together and decided to keep women down. It's a societal construct which self-perpetuates gender-based division of roles; including "male==leader" and "female==likes shoes".

That women--under the burden of this construct--also assist in perpetuating these divisions, is an argument IN SUPPORT of its existence and its ongoing effects; NOT of it being "made up" to "sell" "feminism".

Just how foot binding, arranged mariages, and bride-burning are all strongly enforced by the women (most older women who experienced such things when they were younger) in the patriarcal cultures that practice(d) them. You don't have to be a dude to buy what the patriarchy is selling.

Re:A root cause you'll never hear about (0, Flamebait)

buravirgil (137856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338243)

A root cause you'll never hear about IF "you" are a conceived audience of feminist troglydites...and voila...women are once again "really" what is? keeping culture stagnant...as far as VICIOUS...really? as in what a woman will SAY? versus the propensity for a testerone heavy humanoid to execute gunpowder, fire, blunt and sharp instrument and muscular advantage? Insight into human behavior IS gender savvy, but illustrating the subtlety of verbal power struggles with a metaphor of CUDGEL???...this argument is as idiotic as the Harvard guy that started this nonsense for which he should have been decapitated Saudi style...to exagerrate MY point

No surprise (4, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337757)

Girls have more fear of math. They are not worse at it. The typical observation is that girls do not dare try it, while boys perform badly and do not mind. This is a cultural problem, not a capability issue. Same is, incidentially, true ofr technology: Girls are afraid to touch it, while boys break it.

Re:No surprise (5, Funny)

bigplrbear (1179259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337793)

Trust me, I know lots of girls who aren't afraid to touch IT

So the real headline should be (5, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337759)

Girls just as good as boys at today's easier math?

Frankly, I've never bought that old CW about girls being worse at math than boys... especially since I met and married my math-major wife in college, who has always been much better at math than I am. It may be true that boys are more _interested_ in math than girls, and thus pursue it and are successful at it more often, but that's a completely different thing from saying that girls are somehow innately "worse" at math.

Clearly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24337763)

White girls are stupid.

Obviously ... (1)

jechoe (414218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337767)

it was a girl who ran the study!

*ducks*

dumbing down (2, Insightful)

celle (906675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337769)

"But the researchers do note a disturbing trend towards omitting harder kinds of math questions from standardized tests."

So in other words they dumbed down the tests, just like in every other field. Reminds me of the military when they lowered the standards to allow women in the eighties.

Seems kind of biased to me.

But (1)

bigplrbear (1179259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337779)

Anything you can do I can do better!

So if you want american kids with best math scores (1, Redundant)

voss (52565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337867)

White guys need to start hooking up
with more asian girls....hmmm

Assuming we do this , 20 years from now
our country will have plenty of really hot
nerdy eurasian girls that are math geniuses :)

All in favor?

Re:So if you want american kids with best math sco (2, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337897)

Aye! Aye! Aye!

I volunteer to be part of this experiment. Infact, I will give it my all!

ok, but let's look a bit closer... (1)

phuriku (912760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337901)

This is a highly publicized story about nothing. The results of the study were actually that the standardized tests that were analyzed were faulty in that they didn't provide questions that required critical analysis. (They mentioned it in passing in the Science article, but it's better seen in the CNN article about the same study.) So this study is being publicized, even though the "results" (that there is no gender difference in mathematical ability) are based on an admittedly faulty test. Anyone else see any problem with this? This is a political matter, not a scientific matter. If you're a true scientist, you'll ignore the study. Not that I'm against the idea of gender equality in mathematics - I believe that this is an interesting, outstanding question. However, the hasty results of this study hinder our quest for the scientific truth of the matter.

Everything I learned from The Simpsons was wrong. (1)

xenolon (469955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337909)

I thought that Girls Just Want to Have Sums.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls_just_want_to_have_sums

Remember what Barbie said: (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337959)

"Math is hard! Let's go shopping!"

Title is incorrect (1)

Legion_SB (1300215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337991)

The findings aren't that there is "no gap" in the math abilities of boys and girls.

The findings are that there is no performance gap between boys and girls when taking state standardized tests - tests which the article then goes on to point out have lopped off all difficult questions (with math problems rated from Level 1 to Level 4, they found that most state tests had zero Level 3 or Level 4 questions).

To oversimplify, I'm sure if I took a room full of 6th graders and had them do 2nd grade math, we wouldn't see a skill discrepancy between the boys and the girls. But that wouldn't tell us jack crap about their ability to do 6th grade math.

Girls are getting better at video games too (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337999)

My girlfriend just owned me in Call of Duty 4 and Halo...and now math? Guys, we're doomed to being eliminated from the human race, especially since science can now extract sperm from bone marror (see link [bbc.co.uk] ).

Are you SURE women are as good... (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338003)

It won't be a new message. Nearly 20 years ago, a large-scale study led by psychologist Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found a "trivial" gap in math test scores between boys and girls in elementary and middle school. But it did suggest that boys were better at solving more complex problems by the time they got to high school.

So she (Janet) did the MATH wrong....

Missed the point (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338015)

They focused in skin color... hair color would had lead to a more eath-shaking conclusion.

I'm not sure I'm allowed to say this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24338035)

Among students with the highest test scores, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one. Among Asians, however, that result was nearly reversed. Hyde says that suggests that cultural and social factors, not gender alone, influence how well students perform on tests.

Or that there are genetic differences between white and asian people.

important point here... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338063)

"...researchers do note a disturbing trend towards omitting harder kinds of math questions from standardized tests."

Any guesses as to why?

Here it is:

Schools (particularly in the UK) pride themselves on their ability to attract students from outside their catchment areas. To do this they have to look as good as possible. Not for the purpose of seeing how well their teaching methods are actually working, standardised aptitude tests are used by local education authorities and other organisations to rank schools by the number of A grade pupils they can churn out - notwithstanding the fact that a significant portion of said students leave school barely able to read or write and utterly lost on a pocket calculator. Still more cases exist where students leave with less common sense than they were born with.

Exams /should/ be hard. They /should/ tax the brain. They /should/ make one think and they /should/ force at least an attempt at lateral thinking. These days the hardest part of any exam is recalling what was written on a chalkboard two semesters ago. This is just plain wrong in my eyes, although in the eyes of a Government who wants to control the people the situation is just perfect. Keep the sheep stupid and they won't see beyond the boundaries the shepherd sets.

Agreed. (3, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338071)

Agreed. No difference at all.

The difference is in motivation - they simply are not interested.

After all, I am sure that all of us could spend hours doing many of the things and jobs that women find so fascinating (fashion, cooking, PA, advertising, sales etc) perfectly competantly - but its true that we simply do not want to.

What are they measuring? (3, Interesting)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338083)

Judging high-end mathematics aptitude by looking at low-end mathematics test scores is no way to run a study. Anyone can learn mathematics well enough to get a decent score on the SAT; it would be like using rudimentary literacy as the measure of Pulitzer prize potential. What next, flipping burgers at McDonald's will make you the next Iron Chef? No one seriously doubted that males and females learn mathematics with similar aptitude in any case, so this seems to be a combination strawman and low-rent dig at Larry Summers that misses the point more than anything.

The controversy, which is not very controversial, has to do with differences in genders to directly manipulate certain kinds of complex system models mentally. While it tends to manifest in some areas of applied mathematics, it does not reflect any ability to learn mathematics per se.

Useless studies (2, Interesting)

Chaduke (1181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338121)

I hate studies like this as they do nothing but implant ridiculous generalized notions into people who want a simple answer to complex questions. What really matters in terms of intellectual ability is that all humans of all sexes and races possess an enormous capacity for learning, and conclusions on ability should be made at an individual level, not groups.

Unavailable for comment.. (1)

Kolie (1012967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338133)

is Principle Skinner. "I dont have any opinions anymore. All I know is that no one is better than anyone else and everyone is the best at everything."

Standardized "Math" Exams (1)

Lorean (756656) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338135)

Standardized math exams amount to rote memorization. No more difficult than ace-ing a Latin exam.
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