Researchers at Duke studied SAT scores of intellectually promising 7th graders (ages 12 to 13) over the last 30 years. The figure below took the ratio of boys to girls who scored in the top 1%, 0.5%, and 0.01% of the distribution in math scores (girls have a slight edge on the verbal SAT, but the differences are not nearly as large).
Ratio males to females, math SAT scores of 7th graters
Up to the top 1%, boys and girls are nearly equal. But the higher into the tail you get, the bigger the differences emerge—and the boys dominate. In the 1980s, there were 13.5 boys for every girl in the top 0.01%, now there are only 3.8. The decline shows a large share of the gap was social conditioning, whether because of girls being told they could not be great at math or not being encouraged to take hard math classes. But a significant gap remains—some of if representing that we have further to go and some of it raising more uncomfortable questions about differences in innate ability.
Patrick Iturra: Business & Finance