Patricia B. Campbell, PhD,
Campbell-Kibler Associates, Inc.,
80 Lakeside Dr., Groton, MA 01450
In 1986 the British Royal Society announced, "There is no convincing evidence of innate gender differences in mathematical ability." In 1989 the National Research Council of the United States dismissed the "biological determinism" of sex differences in mathematics, citing evidence from the vast majority of studies finding "almost no differences in performance among male and female students who have taken equal advantage of similar opportunities to study mathematics."
There is a great deal of evidence that sex differences in math achievement are not biologically or genetically based. For example:
In the past 15 years sex differences in mathematics achievement have become small enough, in most areas to be considered negligible. While society may change fast enough for this to happen, biology doesn't. Genetic differences tend to remain stable, but sex differences in mathematics achievement are decreasing.
Sex differences in such traditionally "masculine" areas as spatial relations have been eliminated by changing teaching practices and providing both girls and boys with opportunities to build their skills. Practice can improve many things, but not genes.
The findings that gifted 7th grade boys are much more likely than girls to score highly on the SAT: Math, which are often used to justify a biological basis to math sex differences, are seriously flawed because the researchers:
The question researchers and teachers should ask is not "Is there a math
gene?" but rather "Why is it that the difference in the participation rates of
women and men in scientific fields is so large when sex differences in
intellectual abilities are so small?"