The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions
This paper uses a new data source, American Mathematics Competitions, to examine the gender gap among high school students at very high achievement levels. The data bring out several new facts. There is a large gender gap that widens dramatically at percentiles above those that can be examined using standard data sources. An analysis of unobserved heterogeneity indicates that there is only moderate variation in the gender gap across schools. The highest achieving girls in the U.S. are concentrated in a very small set of elite schools, suggesting that almost all girls with the ability to reach high math achievement levels are not doing so.
This project would not have been possible without Professor Steve Dunbar and Marsha Conley at AMC, who provided access to the data as well as their insight. We thank Stu Schmill, Sofia Caloggero, and Karen Johnson for their help with the MIT data and David Card and Jesse Rothstein for help with data matching. Syndie Kim provided research assistance. Financial support was provided by the NSF (SES-0550897), the Toulouse Network for Information Technology, and Microsoft Research. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2010. "The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 109-28, Spring. citation courtesy of