Debunking Myths About Gender and Mathematics Performance

Categories: News

Jonathan M. Kane and Janet E. Mertz

Gender differences in mathematics participation rate, mean and high-end performance, and variance in distribution of performance have been reported on numerous occasions. The reasons for these findings have been the subject of much debate. For example, the greater male variability hypothesis, originally proposed by Ellis in 1894 [42] and reiterated in 2005 by Lawrence Summers when he was president of Harvard University [48], states that variability in intellectual abilities is intrinsically greater among males. If true, it could account for the fact that all Fields medalists have been male. If gender differences in means and variances are primarily a consequence of innate, biologically determined differences between the sexes, one would expect these differences to be similar among countries regardless of their culture and to remain fairly constant across time. Such a finding would suggest that little can be done to diminish these differences.

Click here to continue reading Debunking Myths About Gender and Math.