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An analysis of gender and performance for students writing the British Columbia grade 12 provincial exams Ip, Chung Yan


Research on gender performance generally focuses on how boys and girls perform on standardized tests. Recent trends indicate that boys are doing worse than girls statistically in the areas of literacy and to a certain degree in the sciences. In British Columbia, students write provincial exams (standardized tests) at the end of a course. The exams count as 40% of their final grade. This study focuses on assessing whether there are significant differences in the mean scores of boys and girls over ten school years, from 1995-2005, in six provincial exam subjects: Biology 12, Communications 12, English 12, History 12, Principles of Mathematics 12, and Physics 12. Data were obtained from the Ministry of Education through Edudata. Independent t-tests were chosen to assess whether there were significant differences between male scores and female scores for each of the exams written for each school year. Findings from these analyses indicated that there were significant differences on mean scores in exams between males and females. Female students perform higher in Physics 12, Principles of Mathematics 12, English 12, and Communications 12 while male students perform higher in History 12. In Biology 12, there were years where males performed higher and other years where females performed higher.

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