By Matthew Barnum
On average, girls do as well as boys on elementary- and middle-school math tests. But by the time students enter the workforce, a big gender gap has emerged, with men earning nearly 80 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science.
A new study offers evidence that the disparity might be getting its start in elementary school classrooms.
The paper offers data from a single district, but the pattern it uncovers is striking. Girls are less likely to be nominated for, selected for, and continue in the district’s advanced math program. Despite their comparable math scores, the program loses girls at every step — a phenomenon that could contribute to fewer women entering math-focused fields later in life.