Monday, July 28, 2008

Evidence from Science

Today I saw a report in Science Magazine online that a recent study, funded by the NSF, using data from NCLB scores has shown that "... for grades 2 to 11, the general population no longer shows a gender difference in math skills, consistent with the gender similarities hypothesis." *

It basically looks at the scores and finds no statistical evidence that gender implies a significant difference in math performance. There was some slightly greater male variability in scores that remains unexplained, but the data seem to indicate that young women do perform comparably with young men.

I also feel that this evidence supports this blog, that what we really need to increase access to the knowledge, and diversity will be a result (as will a greater range of contributions, more happy people, better products, wisdom, ...). The challenge is to understand different ways in which people learn, handle information, and other issues that can impact the realization of potential.

It's the main reason to attend SIGCSE, to see what works and learn from what did not work.
* Janet S. Hyde, Sara M. Lindberg, Marcia C. Linn, Amy B. Ellis, Caroline C. Williams. Gender Similarities Characterize Math Performance. Science 25 (July 2008) Vol. 321. no. 5888, pp. 494 - 495

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