The Message of the Map: Girls Are Smarter Than Boys, At Least in Grades 3 to 8

Colleen O'Dea | November 22, 2013 | Maps
Contrary to conventional thinking, boys do not best the girls when it comes to math at virtually any level

It’s official: Girls are smarter than boys.

That’s if you are comparing the passing rates for girls against that of boys on New Jersey’s pre-high school standardized tests, the NJASKs.

Last week, the state Department of Education released scores and proficiency rates for all standardized tests, including the NJASK given in grades 3-8. Students in those grades all took tests designed to measure their skills in math and English and Language Arts. Fourth and eighth graders also took a science test.

Overall, state officials reported that passing rates on all the tests changed little compared with 2012, with 67 percent of students statewide proficient in English/Language Arts and 75 percent proficient in math.

Scores typically correlate with the state’s DFG (District Factor Group) system of categorizing districts based on socioeconomic factors, including wealth. Poorer and special-needs districts tend to have the lowest passing rates, while the wealthiest have the highest.

There also has been a perception that girls fare better in English and writing, while boys excel in math and science. But that was not the case on the NJASKs. On only the 4th grade math test did boys both outscore girls and pass at a higher rate. Girls did, however, outperform boys in English/Language Arts at every grade level. They also bested boys, both in terms of mean scores and passing rates, on the math test in grades 3, 6, 7 and 8.

NJ Spotlight calculated an average for the passing rates for each gender for all the tests and found girls faring better overall in more than nine out of 10 districts.

In addition to the battle of the sexes breakdown, total passing rates are available by clicking on the map.

Select results at the school level are also available in a searchable, interactive database.

All of the state’s testing data is available on the DOE website.