Huge Gender Differences Persist on SAT Math Test
Math SAT Percentile Ranks: Males and Females, 2011
1. For all math SAT scores of 580 and above (70th percentile), male students outnumbered female students (see table above).
2. As the scores increased by 10-point intervals from 580 to 800, the male-female ratio increased in almost all cases, reaching a peak of 2.12-t0-1 for scores of 780. For perfect scores of 800, the male-female ratio was 1.95-t0-1.
3. More women (873,896) than men (768,554) took the SAT test in 2010, and to adjust for those differences in sample sizes, we can calculate that 1.19% of males had perfect 800 scores compared to 0.54% of females, for an adjusted male-female ratio of 2.21-to-1 (vs. the 1.95 unadjusted ratio).
These results are especially significant because female high school students are generally better students overall than males, and equally or better prepared for the SAT Math test than male students:
a. Females outnumbered males in the top 10% of their 2011 graduating classes - there were 127 female students in the top 10% of high school classes for every 100 male students (56% female to 44% male).
b. Nationwide, there were 144 female high school students with GPAs of A+ for every 100 males (59% female vs. 41% male).
c. Females had a higher average GPA of 3.40 compared to 3.27 on average for male students in 2011.
d. More high school girls than boys took advanced AP/honors math classes in high school (117 females per 100 males) and science classes (122 females per 100 males).
e. More high school girls (54%) than boys (46%) studied mathematics for four years in high school, and those percentages were the same for students studying four years of high school science.
Despite the huge differences in math performance by gender (both on average and at the high end of performance), we frequently hear statements like this: "There just aren't gender differences anymore in math performance," says Universityof Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor Janet Hyde, "So parents and teachers need to revise their thoughts about this. Stereotypes are very, very resistant to change, but as a scientist I have to challenge them with data."
Given the significant and persistent gender differences in SAT math test scores that have persisted over many generations, the scientific data about gender differences in math performance would seem to present a serious challenge to Professor Hyde's claims of no gender differences in math performance.