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Consequences in High School and College of Sex Differences in Mathematical Reasoning Ability: A Longitudinal Perspective

Camilla Persson Benbow and Julian C. Stanley
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 19, No. 4 (Winter, 1982), pp. 598-622
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1162546
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Consequences in High School and College of Sex Differences in Mathematical Reasoning Ability: A Longitudinal Perspective
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Abstract

Between 1972 and 1974 the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) identified over 2,000 7th and 8th graders who scored as well as a national sample of 11th and 12th grade females on the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) Mathematics or Verbal tests. A substantial sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability was found (Benbow & Stanley, 1980b, 1981). The consequences and development of this sex difference over the following 5 years were investigated longitudinally. Over 91 percent (1,996 out of 2,188 SMPY students) participated. This study established that the sex difference persisted over several years and was related to subsequent sex differences in mathematics achievement. The sex difference in mathematics did not reflect differential mathematics course taking. The abilities of males developed more rapidly than those of females. Sex differences favoring males were found in participation in mathematics, performance on the SAT-M, and taking of and performance on mathematics achievement and Advanced Placement Program examinations. SMPY females received better grades in their mathematics courses than SMPY males did. Few significant sex differences were found in attitudes toward mathematics.

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