UBC Theses and Dissertations
Sex-related differences in mathematics achievement scores in Grade 4 and Grade 8 in Kerala, India Nair, Leila Karunakaran
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether sex-related differences in mathematics achievement scores existed in a sample from the under-developed world; and if so, what bearing the findings had on the current "nature" and "nurture" positions on such differences. A total of 1377 students at two grade levels, Grade 4 and Grade 8, drawn from three districts in the state of Kerala, India, were tested. Items for the instruments of testing were drawn from the British Columbia Learning Assessment Study in Mathematics of 1981 for the Grade 4 level and from the Second International Mathematics Study conducted in British Columbia in 1982 for the Grade 8 level. The results showed that sex-related differences in mathematics achievement scores existed at the two grade levels in varying degrees depending on the urban-rural location of the sample, and not consistently in favour of the same sex. In the urban sample, boys outperformed girls by 7% at the Grade 4 level and girls outperformed boys by 3% at the Grade 8 level. In the rural sample, girls outperformed boys by 2% at the Grade 4 level and boys outperformed girls by 8% at the Grade 8 level. Based on the results of this study, it is hypothesized that if the "nature-position" of genetic male superiority in mathematical ability is the reason for the instances of superior male scores in this study, data at the same grade levels that show marginally superior female achievement scores in a different locale indicate that "nurture" of some sort can likely 'remedy any deficiencies in mathematical ability that may be imposed by "nature".
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