A new survey sheds light on some of the factors contributing to preference for, and confidence in, math class

Are boys more confident than girls when it comes to math?


A new survey sheds light on some of the factors contributing to preference for, and confidence in, math class

A national survey of 16- to 18-year-olds shows that even among some of America’s top high school students, not only do boys favor math more than girls, but they also have more confidence in math class.

The survey, conducted by Philadelphia-based Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), gathered responses from 1,253 11th and 12th grade students from across the U.S. to determine their views regarding math and STEM.

The students queried are participants in this year’s MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, an annual internet-based, intensive math modeling contest organized by SIAM. Similar to the gender breakdown of the M3 Challenge, respondents of the survey were about 60 percent male and 40 percent female.

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“While there are not huge differences in male and female views on math and STEM, the survey shows there is still a marked gender difference when it comes to subject preferences and how students view their own strengths, as well as confidence levels in math class,” says Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge program director at SIAM.

Laura Ascione

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