A recent data analysis of 260 million standardized test scores by researchers at Stanford University suggests that both boys and girls benefit from being in “more academic and more resource-rich environments,” boys in rich districts tend to benefit more–especially in math. In contrast, boys in poor districts tend to perform less well in math than girls. The reasons for such quantitative trends have led researchers to hypothesize as to why. Here’s a snippet of what they are thinking:
When boys think of academic achievement as desirable and tied to their future success, they do better. Boys who have fathers who are involved in their lives, and who are highly educated with white-collar jobs, are more likely to receive this message, according to research by Mr. DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann, a sociologist at Ohio State.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, in districts that are mostly black, less affluent and in the South, girls do better than boys in math. Recent research has found that black boys in particular struggle in the face of poverty and racism. Black and Latino boys and those in poor neighborhoods often get the message that doing well in school is not manly, a variety of research has found.
How does all this compare to your own setting where you teach or your children learn? Numbers don’t lie. But they also only tell a truth, not the truth.