Sex difference and mathematical reasoning

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The main aim of the study was to determine whether mathematical reasoning is influence by sex of a person due to inconsiderate admission criteria that was adopted in United States for awarding scholarships to students irrespective of sex. In order to achieve this, the study selected sample population from both genders for students who were 13 years and above. The study was a result of the argument that males tend to dominate in mathematical aptitude test, which was evidenced by John Hopkins talent search in 1971 to 1979. Hence, Benbow and Stanley had to carry out this study to prove whether the argument was true and whether there was link between sex and ability to have good mathematical reasoning.

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Benbow and Stanley in this study investigated sex difference at the high level possible of the mathematical reasoning ability. The study was started by first identifying two groups of students who had the best mathematical reasoning from various mathematical aptitude test that they had taken. The study adopted two procedures where the first one involved identification and selection of students who took part in John Hopkins talent searches campaign from 1980 to 1982 (Benbow, & Stanley, 1983). The students who were found to have the highest intellectual ability and below 13 years were given college Scholarship aptitude test, (SAT) to determine their mathematical reasoning. Consequently, the second procedure involved conducting nation-wide talent search and selecting those students who were below 13 years and were willing to take SAT.

The results of this study indicated that students who were 13 years of age and below had high mathematical reasoning as evidenced by high scores in SAT, the mathematical part of the test. In addition, the results found that males scored far much high compared to females and thus support the prediction of the study that sex difference play important part in mathematical reasoning for children below 13 years. The evidence from the study indicated that those who scored 400 marks in SAT, males were more than female in the ratio of 1.51:1 and those who scored 600 marks or more the boys to girsl ration was 4.1:1, which showed that males had better mathematical reasoning compared to girls at the age of 13 (Benbow, & Stanley, 1983). Consequently, nationwide talent search had the similar results with boy to girls’ ratio increasing to 12.6:1 for those that score 700 marks or more.

The significance level Null distribution is the study probability distribution when null hypothesis is considered and regarded to be true. This means that null hypothesis it proved using null distributions. In this case, the alternative hypothesis is rejected. However, where the study does not support the null hypothesis, the said concludes by rejecting the null hypothesis at a given level of significance. Therefore, 0.05 significance means that the null hypothesis was rejected at 95% level of significance.

The standard deviation error helps to determine the level of unbiased data and results of a given study and thus it becomes very important in any study. In this study, the standard error was important to determine the level of errors and thus improve the level of data reliability. Similarly, the confidence interval is used as the measure of reliability of the estimates obtained in the study. This helps to indentify if the data is misleading or within the significance level.


Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1983). Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability: More facts. Science, 222(4627), 1029-1031.

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