Why is the level difference in first grade reversed in favor of boys?

In kindergarten, little girls do slightly better than boys in math. But at the entrance of CP, the proportion is reversed, to clearly give the advantage to children, according to a study carried out on more than 12,000 French children.

It is precisely at the entrance to the CP where the results of boys in mathematics clearly exceed those of girls, concludes a French study published by the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED). It is the first study to pinpoint exactly when the gap is visibly widening, assessing children as they grow into the mighty cohort. French longitudinal study from childhood ().

Women choose science, mathematics and technology (STEM) studies less

From academia to the professional world, math and technology-related careers are chosen by far more men than women. “Although young women are in the majority in higher education, less than 40% go to science. About 15% in digital and engineering sciences.“, specified Myrtille Gardet, regional pedagogical inspector of physics-chemistry, who spoke at the symposium “Women and Science” 2021. To combat these inequalities, many studies seek the origin of this gap between the ages of 4 and 7 years.

But if you show that this gap exists in CP or CE2, for example, that says nothing about its evolution, and especially when this gap starts to widen.”, he explains to Science and Future Jean-Paul Fischer, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Lorraine. With his colleague Xavier Thierry (INED), he thus studied more than 2,000 children from the ELFE cohort, which at its creation brought together more than 18,000 children born in 2011 whom he intends to accompany during the first 20 years of his life. The children, scattered throughout France, were 5 and 7 years old when they took the math and language assessment tests in the middle section of kindergarten and then in CP. Additionally, 10,000 children outside the ELFE cohort were also tested.

Math performance is invested in CP


More information at sciencesetavenir.fr

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