Boys and Girls: Is the Glass the Same?

We recently revealed gifted students’ reports of the level of challenge in math, science, and language arts.  Now, let’s look at the responses according to gender.

First, more boys than girls participate in the talent search program.  Of the responses from 3,104 boys and 2,735 girls (nearly 6,000 students), 53% were boys and 47% were girls.

Not surprisingly, there are differences in boys’ and girls’ responses*.  All of the differences were statistically significant, with the exception of ability grouping:

  •  66% of boys and 72% of girls are in the regular classroom learning the same mathematics as everyone else.
  •  17% of boys and 15% of girls work in a small group with other students who are good in math within the regular math classroom (this is not a statistically significant difference).
  •  29% of boys and 26% of girls work at a higher grade level for mathematics.
  •  30% of boys and 26% of girls have math in a special class with other gifted math students.
  •  8% of boys and 7% of girls work individually with a teacher or other adult to study math that is advanced (more challenging) for their age and/or take advanced math through a distance learning program.

Although the difference in percentages seems relatively small (for instance, 29% vs. 26%), each difference is statistically significant. Girls have less of a chance to learn math in a differentiated environment than boys.

Interestingly, there were no statistically significant differences between boys and girls in their responses to similar questions about language arts.

In science, there were statistically significant differences between percentages of boys (86%) and girls (88%) in the regular classroom, as well as for small group work (boys = 8% and girls = 7%), but not for any of the other forms of differentiation.

 These research results are part of the Belin-Blank Center’s annual talent search program.  A talent search offers above-level testing to high-achieving students.

*Percentages will not total one hundred percent because students were permitted to respond to all that applied.

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