G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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1. High school boys’ average math score was 33 points higher than high school girls’ average score (532 and 499 respectively). This is two points higher than the gap last year and two points lower than the 25 year trend.
2. The ratio of boys to girls scoring higher than 700 on the math section of the test was 186 to 100. Other ways to say this: 9.5% of boys and 5.1% of girls scored 700 or better on Math. About 778,000 boys and 886,000 girls took the SAT (47% male versus 53% female).
3. Relying on this drilldown, Perry points out that at increasing SAT Math score increments, the boy-girl ratio also increases. The ratio maxes out at about 2:1 at the highest possible score (800). About 7700 boys and 3800 girls got perfect math scores. Perry adjusts this for the greater number of female test-takers and finds a 2.29:1 ratio between the percent of perfect male scores and the percent of perfect female scores relative to the overall number of test-takers of each sex.
4. If this were about superior school-level preparation for boys, we wouldn’t expect to find that AP/Honors Math classes were 46% female and 54% male.
5. One thing Perry didn’t mention is that both male and female SAT takers took an average of 3.9 years of math classes. Boys had an average GPA of 3.19 in math classes. Girls: 3.18. Calculus classes were evenly divided between boys and girls.
Perry’s conclusion is worth quoting here:
Further, compared to boys, high school girls get better grades on average, and are far more likely to graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes. By all objective measures, girls have essentially all of the necessary ingredients that should result in greater representation in STEM fields like engineering except perhaps for one: that huge, statistically significant +30-point gender gap on the SAT math test in favor of boys that persists over time.
These gaps persist across all ethnic groups as well. Among black test-takers, boys score 14 points higher than females on Math; whites: 34; Hispanics: 36; Asians: 28. While Reading differences are jumbled across the races, girls dominate boys on the Writing portion of the test. On average they score 13 points higher than boys, and the differences across races range from a seven point margin (Hispanics) to a 21 point margin (blacks).
It is often argued that black boys are left behind in school. Even so, black boys still score higher on SAT Math than do black girls. Does anyone actually believe that black boys are generally dissuaded from doing well in school, yet they are somehow pushed towards maths and sciences while black girls are left behind?
This brings up one point worth making: if females are comparatively better at writing and therefore at communicating, they would, at the upper echelons, gravitate towards the social sciences. Plenty of men are also in these fields, but the social sciences have a greater female influence. Thus, we have so much literature and so many feminist writings focused on the math and science gender gap. It’s like female academics and intellectuals are fixed specifically with the tools to address the gap which the analogue males (the mathematicians and scientists) aren’t equipped to defend. That, and they also have access to the mediums (academic journals, etc.) in which such theories are passed around. You have communicators voicing their displeasure at outcomes in more abstract fields, and those populating the abstract fields aren’t even playing the same game. So people in the softer sciences will naturally understate the issue, leaving passive discussion participants with an incomplete idea of how students pass through from school to the hard sciences.