Judith Kleinfeld, Ph.D
Math is one of the most important forms of human communication. It allows humans a fleeting glimpse into God's plan without the emotional baggage which accompanies human thought. Judith Kleinfeld managed to exclude all known math while including only the emotional baggage in her report "The Myth That Schools Shortchange Girls" http://www.usa.edu/northern or kleinfeldmyth.pdf
A graphic example of the anti-male bias which discredits the entire study is the following:
Her curves do not reflect the 47 SAT Math point difference in median scores between boys and girls in the general population, the 120 SAT Math point difference between boys and girls entering college, nor the 102 point difference between male and female college graduates on the Graduate Record Exam. Instead, she assumes that the median score is the same, which invalidates the rest of her analysis. If the SAT and GRE scores were accurate measurements of the ability to apply math and physics principles to problem solving, Gaussian Curves of such socres with a difference of "nearly" a standard deviation would look more like this.
Her curves are suspect for eight reasons:
THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR
While her intentions to prove that boys are shortchanged in schools are good, this author disagrees that such egregious misrepresentations can advance her cause. But the following comments reveal a bias which virtually invalidates her thesis:
This is a monumental social problem, alright. And it's a monumental educational problem. It exemplifies the tendency of feminists to ignore significant gender differences, trivialize the producers, and focus ALL education resources on the lowest common denominator. It exemplifies what caused this nation to score DEAD LAST in TIMSS, a fact that she didn't even reference in her study timss.htm dated two years after TIMSS was completed.
CONCEALING THE SEX DIFFERENCES
But it gets worse. Much worse.
Yes it does. But she didn't quantify this difference, which is a mighty important thing to do in a study claiming to debunk the theory that girls are shortchanged by schools rather than nature. She instead sought to trivialize it by diverging into a discussion about testosterone which could leave feminists arguing that all they need to do to achieve a similar cognitive ability to boys is go to their gynecologist for some shots. She ignored what could have been the strongest argument in a study of why it is a myth that schools shortchange girls--boys are different. Few people know HOW big that difference is, but if she has seen the data, then she does know and should have reported it. Why, then, fail to note that this cognitive ability is why men have one third as many traffic accidents per mile driven as women, or why men pilots have one fourth as many accidents per mile flown as women pilots? Testosterone shots aren't going to make women better students, drivers, or pilots, so why distract everyone's attention from her main point with such a diversion? Unfortunately, the only answer can be the lack of integrity so often repeated in feminist "studies".
It is agreed that the schools shortchange boys, and it is agreed that they do so to attempt to establish "equality" between the sexes. But it is not agreed that "equality" either can nor should be established nor sought after, which is the conclusion of her report. This is precisely the affirmative-action-think which the voters of California outlawed with Proposition 209. It is also significant that she referenced neither the effects of affirmative action nor Proposition 209, both of which would have significantly altered her approach and could have made the study far more effective.
The following statement is a flat out feminist lie which any citizen with an Almanac can easily dispute:
Males score 47 points higher than females in SAT Math, 13 points higher in SAT Verbal, 1.5 points (or 8.3%) higher in ACT Composite, 2.3 points (12.7%) higher in ACT Math, 1.8 points (10.5%) higher in ACT Social Studies, 2.6 points (12.9%) higher in ACT Natural Science. On only one test, ACT English, do females score higher than males, and this difference is the smallest difference of all of them (1 point, or 5.5%).
At best, there is a question of which test of writing skills is valid--the SAT Verbal test which shows that boys have a 13 point (5%) advantage, or the ACT English test which shows that girls have a one point (5.5%) advantage. This is hardly a "big female advantage". But a close look at any of these curves shows that moving the median of the boys' curve forward by 8-13% (the average of ALL of the rest of the tests) puts a significant percentage of the boys ahead of all the girls. Even her own odd shaped curve suggests that this would put 2-5% of the boys ahead of all the girls, but the real 47 SAT Math point difference between boys and girls in the general population, coupled with the difference between the standard deviations of boys' and girls' scores is better illustrated by this graph.
Trivializing the differences between boys and girls, ignoring the highest performers, and focusing on the lowest common denominator in order to accomodate girls, is a FAR, FAR cry from "arete" [read: excellence]. Our children deserve, and their parents demand, more than this from public education.
GERRYMANDERING SAT SCORES
Politicized standardized tests seriously mislead us regarding the differences between the sexes in math skills, though. A student taking SAT Math gets 200 points out of 800 just for signing his name. That leaves a possible 600 points. A third of the SAT Math test isn't math at all--they are questions which test memorization only, but not math skills. Anyone who finished high school, paid attention, remembered basic math principles, and correctly answered all memorization questions will get another 200 points in SAT Math. Without even proving that they can apply math principles to problem solving, they already have 400 points. Most of the other two thirds of the test is multiple choice questions. If students just guess on four-answer questions, they will get 25% of them correct, and if they just guess on five-answer questions they will get 20% of them correct, which adds another 90 points to the SAT score before demonstrating any math skills. A student who signs his name, remembers math principles, answers the memorization questions correctly, guesses on all the actual math questions, but never applies math principles to problem solving, will receive a score of 490 [read: Ground Zero].
What most people don't understand, because it is intentionally concealed from them, is that SAT scores demonstrate that the majority of boys are able to apply math principles to problem solving, but most girls aren't. A comparison of the the distribution of actual math skills of boys and girls can be made by subtracting all of these other factors, using the SAT Math score of 490 as Ground Zero, considering that the boys' median score is 8 points above Ground Zero and the girls' median score is 35 points below Ground Zero, to produce this graph. REMEMBER: both ends of both curves are asymptotic, which means that they theoretically never reach zero. This graph is consistent with the raw TIMSS data which shows that zero percent of American 12th grade girls were able to apply math principles to problem solving which up to three quarters of the boys in some countries were able to solve.
THE REAL SEX DIFFERENCE
Manipulating standardized tests like this was intended to make American girls look better [read: make American boys look worse]. The raw TIMSS data shows why. TIMSS scores are normalized so that 410 is equivalent to zero percent of the math questions correct and a score of 800 is equivalent to 100% correct. In other words, students who got zero percent of the math questions correct [read: understood zero percent of the subject] got a TIMSS score of 410. This is not from the normalized TIMSS score, but from the raw data which shows the percent of questions answered correctly.
American girls received a score of 393 for the TIMSS Mechanics section, 17 points lower than zero percent correct. How can it be explained that American 12th grade girls consistently scored lower than if they had just guessed?
This ignores that the gap between high achieving males and high achieving females is even bigger than the achievement gaps between races. It ignores how misleading the standardized tests called "Sat Tests" are. It ignores the slightly more revealing Graduate Record Exams which report that there is almost a standard deviation difference between boys' and girls' scores in many subjects. It ignores the more accurate raw data from TIMSS which shows that an average of zero percent of American 12th grade girls correctly applied math and physics principles.
Kleinfeld makes a big issue of the verbal skills of women, but then cites a completely separate study which used the wrong word, "exaggerate", to describe the male advantage in test scores, and then stresses that word with italics rather than questioning the use of that word, which would have required quotation marks. This suggests that she is agreeing that "exaggerate" is the correct word, rather than correcting the statement with a more appropriate word. What is a more appropriate word? She claims that more males score at both the higher end and the lower end of the curve than females, but this is based on curves with similar median scores. Even accepting *her* curves, the greater number of men on the higher end of the curve doesn't "exaggerate" a male advantage at all--it "illustrates" or "illuminates" it. Her failure to show the curves with the proper 47 to 120 SAT Math points separation neither "exaggerates", "illustrates", nor "illuminates" that male advantage at the high end--rather, it "conceals" it. Her failure to consider the gap apparent in TIMSS or GRE scores or the politicization of standardized tests "misrepresents" it.
Since she is using SAT Math scores which are known to conceal the real differences between the sexes in math skills, she is concealing a male advantage which has already been misrepresented by the politicization of standardized tests, with the obvious objective of advancing feminism, to the severe disadvantage of both boys and girls.
We don't need educators to lie to our daughters to "improve their self esteem". We need them to teach the truth.
Modified Tuesday, November 02, 2010
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