Study Analyzes Six Surveys of Boys', Girls' Achievement

Article excerpt

A new study suggests that girls perform better on tests of reading and writing while boys perform better on tests of science and mathematics.

The report, by Larry Hedges and Amy Nowell of the University of Chicago, analyzed six large national surveys of performance by American male and female teen-agers on tests of mental ability conducted over the last 30 years.

The study, published in today's issue of the journal Science, found that the average sex differences in most measured abilities were small.

Nevertheless, the differences in performance seen in science, mathematics, reading and writing - combined with the fact that boys' scores tended to vary more widely than girls' - frequently produced situations where boys greatly outnumbered girls at the top or bottom of the scale.

For example, seven times as many boys as girls scored in the top 5 percent on science tests, and about twice as many boys as girls scored in the top 5 percent on math tests, Hedges said. …