The idea that boys are better at math and in competitions has persisted for a long time, and now we know why: Nobody bothered to schedule the rematch.
Most school math contests are one-shot events where girls underperform relative to their male classmates. But a new study by a Brigham Young University economist presents a different picture.
Twenty-four local elementary schools changed the format to go across five different rounds. Once the first round was over, girls performed as well or better than boys for the rest of the contest.
“It’s really encouraging that seemingly large gaps disappear just by keeping them in the game longer,” said BYU economics professor Joe Price.
Price co-authored the study with the University of Miami’s Christopher Cotton and Rutgers’ Frank McIntyre. Their report is published by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.