30 Apr '16 19:161 edit

http://www.fi.uu.nl/publicaties/literatuur/6320.pdf

If you want girls to have as good or better results in math, just reform math and ask the right kinds of math questions. Do away with computation by all means.

**The analysis of the two groups of extreme items made it clear that there were**

very distinct differences between the girls’ problems and the boys’ problems.

The girls performed equally as well as the boys or a little bit better on:

– problems which ask for accuracy,

– problems of which the text is complex,

– problems which ask for (refl ection on) strategies and not for calculations,

– well-known problems which refer to standard procedures,

– straight-away problems (in which the operation and the numbers are given

and no re-organisation is necessary), and

– problems which refer to shopping situations.

An example of such a girls’ problem is the Camera problem2

, found with the other

problems in the Activities section.This problem is about a boy who wants to buy

a camera. The test sheet contains a lot of text that tells the students the amounts

of money the boy has saved in four subsequent months. The students have to calculate

what is the shortage for buying the camera. The difference in p-value of

this problem was -.04, meaning that the difference was in favour of the girls.

On the other hand, the boys perform clearly better than the girls on:

– problems which ask for daily-life knowledge on numbers and measures,

– problems in which large numbers with many zeros are used,

– problems in which different numbers or different units of measurement are

used,

2

Cito Test 1995 – Part 1, Item 16; p-value boys = .76, p-value girls = .80.

242 International Perspectives on Learning and Teaching Mathematics

MARJA VAN DEN HEUVEL-PANHUIZEN Girls’ and Boys’ Problems

– problems which have possibilities for ”tinkering” with numbers 3

, and

– problems which ask for reasoning backwards.very distinct differences between the girls’ problems and the boys’ problems.

The girls performed equally as well as the boys or a little bit better on:

– problems which ask for accuracy,

– problems of which the text is complex,

– problems which ask for (refl ection on) strategies and not for calculations,

– well-known problems which refer to standard procedures,

– straight-away problems (in which the operation and the numbers are given

and no re-organisation is necessary), and

– problems which refer to shopping situations.

An example of such a girls’ problem is the Camera problem2

, found with the other

problems in the Activities section.This problem is about a boy who wants to buy

a camera. The test sheet contains a lot of text that tells the students the amounts

of money the boy has saved in four subsequent months. The students have to calculate

what is the shortage for buying the camera. The difference in p-value of

this problem was -.04, meaning that the difference was in favour of the girls.

On the other hand, the boys perform clearly better than the girls on:

– problems which ask for daily-life knowledge on numbers and measures,

– problems in which large numbers with many zeros are used,

– problems in which different numbers or different units of measurement are

used,

2

Cito Test 1995 – Part 1, Item 16; p-value boys = .76, p-value girls = .80.

242 International Perspectives on Learning and Teaching Mathematics

MARJA VAN DEN HEUVEL-PANHUIZEN Girls’ and Boys’ Problems

– problems which have possibilities for ”tinkering” with numbers 3

, and

– problems which ask for reasoning backwards.

If you want girls to have as good or better results in math, just reform math and ask the right kinds of math questions. Do away with computation by all means.