Here's 100 Years of Proof That Girls Are Better Students Than Boys. In all subjects, even math and science.
In 2006, Newsweek magazine declared it, loud, on their cover: America's boys were in crisis. Boys were falling behind their female counterparts in school. They were getting worse grades, lagging on standardized tests, and not attending college in the same numbers as girls. "By almost every benchmark," Peg Tyre, the author of the cover story, wrote, "boys across the nation and in every demographic group are falling behind." And so it began-the end of men, but also an ongoing conversation on how to better boys' performance in the classroom. From the article:
This "boy crisis," however, was based on an assumption: that males had previously been on top. Granted, there was evidence to support that idea. For one, educational institutions for most of modern history have been openly sexist, favoring boys. And traditionally, males had outperformed girls in standardized tests and in math and science. But "by the mid-1990s, girls had reduced the gap in math, and more girls than boys were taking high-school-level biology and chemistry," Tyre wrote.
The assumption that boys had been the better students didn't seem right to (married) researchers Daniel and Susan Voyer of the University of New Brunswick in Canada. "I've been collecting grade data for a long time," Daniel Voyer says in a phone interview. "Typically if you find gender differences, they are in favor of girls - it doesn't matter what it is. So it started to kind of puzzle me." And so the pair set out to test, collecting every study they could find on grades and gender since 1914 and crunching the numbers in a mega-meta analysis, the first of its kind.
While the girls' advantage is largest in reading and language studies, it exists for all subjects, even math and science. And though they tested data from across the world, the Voyers found the gender gap was largest in the United States.
What's most striking is that the gender gap held across the decades. If the boy crisis existed, they would have seen boys' performance peak and fall over time. That wasn't the case. "Boys have been lagging for a long time and ... this is a fairly stable phenomenon," the paper concluded.
(Score: 2, Interesting) by Shub on Friday May 02 2014, @01:03PM
Schools in most countries are generally focused around memory skills rather than innovation skills or problem solving.
Most school curriculum's are structured in a way that _all_ students(regardless of ability) will be able to learn the material and regurgitate that learned material onto an exam paper. It is essentially nothing more than a test of who has the best memory rather than anything else.
Even subjects like maths that require critical thinking & analysis in real life fields such as physics, are structured in a way in which all that is required of a student is to learn formulas, and never stray from them.
Logically enough it follows that the segment of our species that does best in school is the same segment that generally speaking has the best memory: the females.
I'd imagine that if the curriculum of the schools were less focused on rote learning then the female advantage would disappear.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by starcraftsicko on Friday May 02 2014, @05:57PM
we stand on the shoulders of giants... [wikipedia.org]
Because of this memorization you speak of, we instil the the life's work of Newton and Leibniz into emerging mathematicians and physicists in one or two semesters. We teach the algebraic math of the Babylonians and the Greeks and the Arabs, thousands of years of development, to nearly every teenager over just a couple of years. We teach the life's work of Pythagoras and Euclid, often in less than a year, to virtually all of our students.
Memorization represents a raised common ground from which new work can be developed.
Innovation at the expense of memorization means the only a select few know 'advanced math', but only after they invent all of the basic maths - the geometry and the algebra. Innovation alone means that the knowledge of how make a thing dies with the first maker. Innovation over memorization means written language is just art - appreciated by many perhaps - but understood only by the creator.
Invention is 1 part innovation and 99 parts memorization.
This post was created with recycled electrons.
(Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday May 02 2014, @11:46PM
Bullshit. *Discovery* of these concepts takes a long time, sure, but actually teaching them once they've been discovered doesn't really need to take any longer than memorizing the formula.
For example, look at EM propagation. A shitty physics teacher will say: "Power decreases with the inverse square of distance. Memorize this formula." A good physics teacher will explain that the wave is propagating out as a sphere, the surface area of that sphere is based on the square of the radius, therefore the power at any point on that sphere decreases with the inverse square of that same radius.
Teaching should be about connecting concepts. That's what separates an education from an encyclopedia. Because if you know radio waves propagate as a sphere, you don't need to memorize the inverse square law, you can easily derive it from the formula for the area of a sphere. And you can derive that too if you don't know it. There's very little that you actually need to memorize.
This is why my grades in math classes started plummeting once I got to college -- they stopped actually explaining things and started just throwing everyone a stack of formulas to memorize. If your memory sucked, your exam scores sucked, because the exams were all purely about pulling numbers out of the questions and plugging them into the formula that the question told you to use, nothing more.
(Score: 1) by ButchDeLoria on Saturday May 03 2014, @12:58AM
I had my engineering and math classes provide formula sheets for exams.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by urza9814 on Saturday May 03 2014, @01:40AM
Yeah, a lot of science and engineering classes that I took did that. Some would provide formula sheets, some would let you bring anything you could fit on a single sheet of paper, some would even let you use the textbook. Math classes tended not to do that. And I think I learned more calculus from my one physics class than from my three calc classes...
I always thought that was a great idea though. My father (an attorney) once told me that it's not about what you know, it's about what you can find. Or it's about how you use it. You can try (and probably fail!) to memorize every single mathematical formula ever derived; or every single feature of every Java library; or every single law in your jurisdiction...or you can just learn to use Google or the library or the index of your textbook! Better to use your brain power learning what to do with that information once you find it. The only things you should ever memorize are the things that you yourself create. The things that exist nowhere but your own mind. If a teacher or professor told you some fact, that fact will be well known and well recorded and will be easy enough for you to find later.
Yeah, you're gonna want to memorize some things that you use every day simply because looking them up every time is too slow...but you'll automatically memorize those from using them. If it takes effort to memorize something, that probably means it's useless to you.