Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gender gap

Every time a president is elected who has young children, the big question is: will they send them to the DC public schools? or will they do what every other president has always done and sent them to private school.

I've long thought there was an easy solution to that question. Send the kids to public school...but do it from Camp David. There in rural Maryland is a nice safe family-friendly place to keep your kids--away from the madness of Washington, and within a couple of miles from very fine public schools.

So, I went looking for what the schools are like in that part of Maryland, and I discovered that Maryland very helpfully breaks down their student test scores by gender. The gaps between boys and girls are pretty stark--in both math and reading. (Click on the Male and Female boxes on the right to break it down by gender.)

Here are the results. The numbers are the percentage of kids testing at "proficient" or "advanced"--in other words at grade level or above:

Grade 3: Math Reading
Boys..... 81.9 79.7
Girls.... 83.4 86.5
Gap...... 1.5 6.8

Grade 4: Math Reading
Boys..... 87.6 86.0
Girls.... 89.6 91.0
Gap...... 2.5 5.0

Grade 5: Math Reading Science
Boys..... 79.5 84.2 64.6
Girls.... 81.6 89.3 63.2
Gap...... 2.1 5.1 -1.4

Grade 6: Math Reading
Boys..... 73.7 78.4
Girls.... 78.0 85.4
Gap...... 4.3 6.0

Grade 7: Math Reading
Boys..... 65.7 77.1
Girls.... 70.9 85.5
Gap...... 5.2 8.4

Grade 8: Math Reading Science
Boys..... 59.8 68.4 61.5
Girls.... 64.0 77.6 61.4
Gap...... 4.2 9.2 -0.1

So, by the time kids get to high school, there are about 32 boys to every 22 girls below grade level in reading.

Though the state breaks down the pass-rates by ethnicity for the high school level, it does not break it down by gender. So, a similar chart can't be made for the upper grades.

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