Girls outshine boys on standardized math tests, nationally

The stereotype of males outshining females on standardized tests scores is about to end. In a recent national study, conducted by the National Science Foundation, found that while in the past males may have done better on standardized math tests than females, it is no longer the case. And the same stands true for most Onondaga County public school districts.

In the New York State Report Cards, produced by the New York State Testing and Accountability Department, a section of the New York State Department of Education, school performance is broken down by subject, and by scoring levels: 1 being the lowest and 4 the highest. The average score for high school students in New York State fell in the middle of those scores over the four years they attend high school. In the most recent reports, in most Onondaga County districts, more than 80 percent of males and female performed in this range. The only exception was the Syracuse City School District, which fell severely below the average.

According to the study, which appeared in the July 25 issue of Science Magazine, the reason for the difference in prior years was because females usually took less math and science classes than males. But now, because females are taking the same amount of math and science coursework as males, and states are requiring annual assessments of student progress under the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind Act, females have since closed the gap.

However, while some schools may have similar math scores between the male and female students, some schools do still show a gap, but in some cases that gap is reversed, such is the case with the Lafayette School District where 89 percent of females scored within the state average, compared to 79 percent of males.

Lafayette Superintendent Peter Tigh said while the numbers may look drastically different, in a school as small as Lafayette, it doesn't take much to tip the scale.

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