SEOUL, Jun. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, male students have better grades in mathematics than females.
Taking out the environmental factor, however, gender differences disappear, according to a recent study.
Lim Seul-ki, a PhD candidate at Sogang University and Asst. Prof. Lee Soo-hyung argued in a recent paper that South Korea lags behind the OECD average in female participation in society, resulting in wage discrimination, less participation in economic activity, and a low proportion of women in corporate management and the political sphere.
“Only a few female students choose to take science majors to begin with, which will lead to further marginalization of the female workforce when occupations related to science and technology take center stage along with the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” they said.
The research team conducted a study of 55,604 students and compared grades they received during their elementary, middle, and high school years, and observed that male students tended to receive higher marks in mathematics than females.
Taking into account the influence of private education, however, the gender gap closed by as much as 60 percent.
“Male middle school students are offered more opportunities for private education than females,” explained the team.
The gender gap also depended on whether the school was a coed school or not.
Students at boys’ or girls’ high schools performed better in mathematics than those at coed schools. Students at boys’ high schools delivered the best performance.
The research team said the results are in line with previous studies. Female students, compared with their male counterparts, tended to show less interest in studying mathematics.
“If we take a look at the Programme for International Student Assessment results, there are countries where female students outperform male counterparts in mathematics,” said the team.
“‘In sum, the gender gap in mathematics performance lies not on biological differences, but on acquired factors created by family background and schooling.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)