
Girls and TIMSS Math
American 12th grade girls demonstrated in TIMSS that they had been taught and remembered basic math principles as well as or better than boys. On 11 of 45 questions in Mathematics Literacy, and on 10 of 67 questions in Advanced Math, more girls than boys got the correct answers. For example, 68% of girls compared to 66% of boys correctly answered Item K1. If xy = 1 and x is greater than 0, which of the following statements is true?
And 40% of girls but only 38% of boys correctly answered Item L3: A radioactive element decomposes according to the formula, y = y o e kt where y is the mass of the element remaining after t days and y o is the value of y for t =0. Find the value of the constant k for an element whose halflife (i.e. time to decompose half of the material) is 4 days.
On the 15 questions which required the application of these principles to problem solving, an average of ZERO percent of American 12th grade girls answered them correctly, compared to an international average of 18% of boys and an average of 57% of boys in the highest scoring countries. Responsible citizenship requires responsible voting decisions, critical analysis of complex issues, and the ability to assess the probability of events. But only 28.7% of American girls correctly answered a probability and statistics question, Item J13, "Overall Average Test Score". If they had just guessed at the answer to this 4 answer multiple choice question, 25% of them would have answered correctly, which means that at most only 3.7% of them demonstrated any ability in this probability and statistics question. Because the standard error in TIMSS is plus or minus 3%, we can't be sure that more than 0.7% of American 12th grade girls understand probability and statistics. After subtracting for multiple choice guesses, 29.4% of American boys, 55% of Israeli boys, and an average of 34.5% of boys internationally, answered this question correctly, demonstrating that these were reasonable questions. One of the most important characteristics of a juror in a country where a trial by jury is a right is the ability of that juror to accurately assess the probability of guilt. What an irresponsible event it was, then, to allow on juries so many citizens (women) whose scientifically proven ability to assess probability is almost zero percent. This alone could explain the nation's skyrocketing incarceration and false conviction rates, which both corresponded with skyrocketing crime rates.
