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Journal Article: The gender gap in math: Its possible origins in neighborhood effects

Journal Article » The gender gap in math: Its possible origins in neighborhood effects


Elementary Schools, Human Sex Differences, Mathematics Achievement, Neighborhoods, Social Support, Elementary School Students, Junior, High School Students, Longitudinal Studies


Entwisle, Doris R.; Alexander, Karl L.; Olson, Linda Steffel


1994, Dec


Examined whether different experiences of boys and girls in elementary school might lay the groundwork for a gender gap that emerges later in mathematics. A contextual analysis was conducted of data gathered for a 399 children in their 1st 2 yrs of school and from interviews with parents. Ss' math scores were examined again in their 8th yr of school. Boys' gains in math reasoning achievement were more sensitive to resources outside the home than were girls' gains. In line with the greater responsiveness of boys' math skills to these neighborhood resources, boys' math reasoning scores became significantly more variable over time than did girls' scores. When differentiated course programs became available in middle school, this greater variability of boys' math scores led the high-scoring boys in the academic program to outscore the girls in that program, although in the total sample the means for boys and girls were similar. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA )