Differences in Math Achievement Between Boys and Girls in 4th and 8th Grade in Coeducational Orthodox Jewish Day Schools in the New York Metropolitan Area
Witty, Emily Amie
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Gender differences in mathematics have been of particular interest over the past decades. Research has shown a disparity in mathematical proficiency between boys and girls depending on the area of mathematics tested, the age and grade of the student, and the structure of the test question (i.e., how the question is posed). Although, much of the research into gender differences in mathematics has been conducted among high school students, there have been significant studies with elementary and middle school students. No studies, however, have been conducted on gender differences in mathematics among Orthodox Jewish day school students. This study examined the proficiency scores on the 2011 New York State math exam of 372 boys and 297 girls. Using data from the Jewish Education Project's Eastern Suffolk BOCES Assessment Reporting System (BARS) database, the study examined the proficiency scores of 111 boys and 99 girls in the 8th grade. Both data sets (4 th and 8th graders) are comprised of students who attend coeducational Orthodox Jewish day schools in New York City. The study examined differences between boys and girls in their proficiency among the five math strands (standards) by means of item analysis. The results indicate that there are significant gender differences in overall math proficiency in the 4 th grade, with boys outperforming girls, while in 8th grade no significant differences were found between boys and girls. Suggestions regarding teachers' methods of math instruction, as well as other possible reasons for the gender differences, are explored. Further research exploring gender differences in other general studies disciplines, as well as Judaic studies, is suggested.;Keywords: coeducation, mathematics achievement in girls, mathematics achievement in boys, Jewish elementary school.