Commentary on the Chapter by Penner and CadwalladerOlsker, “Gender Differences in Mathematics and Science Achievement Across the Distribution: What International Variation Can Tell Us About the Role of Biology and Society”

  • Robert (Bob) Klein
Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)


In their chapter, Penner and CadwalladerOlsker combine TIMSS data with country data from the United Nations, World Bank, and other resources to give two primary results related to mathematics performance by sex. First, they cast doubt on the utility of biological causes as an effective explanation of gender differences in mathematics performance on the TIMSS. Second, since gender differences in math scores depend on social factors, they investigate which country-level factors matter most in explaining those differences. The argument provides far greater insight to the question of gender and mathematics than simple comparison studies, establishing an excellent model for future research. At the same time, the results are macro-level results for a field that has struggled historically with macro-level solutions, thus raising the issue of the implications of this work for addressing gender equity.


Gender Difference Quantile Regression Mathematics Achievement Gender Equity Mathematics Performance 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ohio UniversityAthensUSA

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