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She counts really fast

A study says girls outshine boys in maths these days. Music which is apparently co-related to maths could be the cause, finds NEETI SARKAR

Photo: Satish H.

MANY REASONS It’s also a wish to break the stereotype that girls can’t be better than their male counterparts

If you’re still under the impression that girls aren’t as good as boys at math, you are in for a pleasant surprise. According to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, girls perform as well as boys on standardi sed math tests in every grade, from second through eleventh, though there is an evidence of slightly greater variability in test scores for boys.

The study, funded by the National Science Foundation compares the performances of seven million students from 10 states. It uses data from the annual math tests required by the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Metro Plus checks out how true this new-found research is in our Indian context. According to Pavini Shreedhar, a school counsellor, “The finding is quite true in our set-up as well. Today, many girls are performing very well in aptitude tests that take into account numerical and mathematical ability.”

Another school counsellor Shireen Sait observes that “girls who are inclined towards the field of science mostly take up engineering. A sharp increase in the number of female engineering graduates each year just goes on to prove that girls are bucking up and putting their mathematical ability to full use.”

Puneeta Dass, a 15-year-old student says, “Math is a favourite subject for many girls and we generally do better in Math than in any of our mainstream science subjects.”

Jayabharathi, a management student is of the opinion that “girls perform better at Math these days because they take the subject up as a challenge and wish to break the stereotype that they can’t be better than their male counterparts, atleast in this field.”

It is commonly observed that music and math are co-related. Those who are good at music are most often believed to show better mathematical/ numerical ability. Therefore, some teachers feel that this could be one of the reasons why girls have equalled the boys at math.

Also, some teachers suppose that in classes that are female dominated, particularly at the graduate level, girls are more likely to outpace boys in most subjects, including math.

Shireen also points out that “Females, especially in high schools are more achievement oriented than some of their male classmates. They are driven to work harder on subjects that are relatively difficult like Math and and up doing as well as the boys in the class.

School Principal Santosh Kanavalli pontificates, “This year’s board exams, in general, witnessed the girls perform exceedingly well at math and this upward trend is definitely not shocking. The girls are catching up with the boys in many subjects, math being one of the latest. Therefore, this is most certainly a wake up call for boys to move out of their comfort zones and shrug off sluggishness.”

This undeniably verifies that women invariably won’t allow themselves to be under-estimated and that they are all out to prove their “girl power”.

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