Gender Gap in Math Achievement Closes

Posted by on March 29, 2010

One part of the gender gap closes

A new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) finds that girls now perform as well as boys on state math tests, but boys consistently trail girls on state reading tests, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. “In no state in the country are boys doing better than girls in reading at the elementary, middle, or high school level,” said Jack Jennings, CEP’s president. “It is a clear and unmistakable trend.” Researchers examined math and reading tests given in all 50 states between 2002 and 2008, focusing on differences in actual scores as well as proficiency levels between genders at the fourth, eighth, and 10th or 11th grades. The shift in reading performance raises questions about classroom changes over time, says Susan Neuman of the University of Michigan, a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education. She pointed to an emphasis on storybook-type reading and a reduction in physical activity in elementary schools as two factors that could disadvantage boys, who tend to prefer nonfiction and have energy that is best channeled into exploratory activities. “I think we need to re-evaluate our curricula, re-evaluate how we are managing our classrooms,” Neuman said.

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