Monday, August 31, 2009

Significant Gender Gap on the PSAT Math Test

The table above (click to enlarge) is based on PSAT scores in 2008 for college-bound juniors for males and females taking the mathematics exam, showing the results for the five geographical regions of the U.S. For both males and females, the highest scores were in the Midwest states, similar to the findings for the SAT test results, reported yesterday on the NY Times Economix blog, "Why The Midwest Rules on the SAT."

The results also show a significant gender gap in favor of males for the mean math test scores in all five regions, with mean male test scores ranging from 3.2 points higher in the Midwest (52.2 for males vs. 49 for females)to a low of 2.5 points higher in the South (50 points for males vs. 47.5 for females). In all five regions, the standard deviation of male test scores was higher than the standard deviation of female test scores, confirming previous findings of greater variability in male intelligence/scores on standardized tests.

Male high school students also outperform female students at the highest level of math test performance, i.e. in the range from 75-80 points. For example, 1.6% of male juniors in the Midwest score above 75 points, vs. only 0.50% of female students, for a ratio 3.2 males to 1 females for test scores in the highest range (see last column in table above). The M:F ratios for scores above 75 range from a low of 2.11 males per female in the New England states to 3.2 males per female in the Midwest states.

Originally posted at
Carpe Diem.

At 9/01/2009 10:07 AM,  Size said...

Fine, I guess women are stupid then. My only problem is that I'm in a quantitative field. Maybe that makes me an outlier among women.

My only problem with this kind of data is that people begin drawing conclusions about individual women. For those of us well suited for quantitative fields, that makes life that much more difficult and discourages women from taking math more seriously.

At 9/01/2009 12:15 PM,  Prof Frink said...

So what to do? Suppress the data? Censor the blogger?

At 9/01/2009 12:34 PM,  Walt G. said...

Size: You can always say you are smarter than the average woman easier than I can say I am smarter than the average man.