 TIMSS Geometry Item K09

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Question K09 on the 12th Grade TIMSS Math test given to 12th graders around the world in 1995 reveals an astounding difference in math skills between the sexes in all the countries who participated.  The average difference in all countries was 10.5%, with 47.3% of boys and 36.8% of girls answering correctly, but the difference in the US was 22.1% (28.6% of girls and 50.7% of boys).   In countries like Cyprus where 60.1% of the boys answered correctly, guesses on the test would not have influenced the scores by that much, but where only 28.6% of American girls answered correctly, guesses must be taken into account.

Since this was a multiple choice question with four possible choices, the probability of getting the correct answer just by guessing is 25%.  In other words, for every four students who guessed, one of them would have gotten the correct answer by chance.  The maximum score would have been achieved had all the students who didn't understand the problem guessed at the answer, so where 28.6% of American girls answered the problem correctly, 23.8% of them got the correct answer by guessing, and 4.8% indicated that they understood the problem [x = total guesses, 0.25x = correct guesses, 0.75x = incorrect guesses = 71.4%, x = 95.2%, 0.25x = 23.8%, 28.6% got the correct answer - 23.8% guessed the correct answer = 4.8% understood the problem].  However, with an estimated error of plus or minus 3%, only 1.8% are known with certainty to have understood the problem.

American boys didn't do that much better, since [prior to the adjustment for the 3% error] just 34.3% of them got the correct answer because they understood the problem, 16.4% got the correct answer because they guessed, and 49.3% guessed incorrectly. Thus only 31.3% are known with certainty to have understood the problem.

Prior to adjustment for the 3% error, 53.2% of the boys in Cyprus guessed, 39.9% guessed incorrectly, 13.3% guessed correctly, and 46.8% understood the problem [x = total guesses, 0.25x = correct guesses, 0.75x = incorrect guesses = 39.9%, x = 53.2%, 0.25x = 13.3%, and 60.1% correct answers - 13.3% correct guesses = 46.8% who understood the problem].  Only 43.8% are known with certainty to have understood the problem, so per capita, compared to American boys 40% more boys in Cyprus are known to have understood the problem, and compared to American girls, 24 times as many were.  Compared to American girls, 17 times as many American boys are known to have understood the problem.

Is this adequate proof that our attempt to establish "gender equality" is a failure?  Yes.  To achieve that ephemeral goal, our "educators" began an unnecessary and destructive "gender war" of unprecedented proportions, more than doubled education spending as a percent of GDP, and out-spent by more than three times countries whose students far outperformed ours.  Japan, whose 8th graders scored 105 points higher than ours, spends half as much for education.  Korea, whose 8th graders scored 107 points higher than ours, spends even less per student than Japan.  