A significant gender gap favoring girls has arisen inside New York City’s gifted and talented programs.According to the article, “Around the city, the current crop of gifted kindergartners…is 56 percent girls, and in the 2008-9 year, 55 percent were girls.” In some of the most elite programs, almost three-fifths of the prodigies are girls.Reforms were needed, because, for many years, admission procedures were haphazard and varied from school to school.
They can be male or female, but males have a statistically significant edge at both extremes.
How did things get turned around with New York City’s kindergarteners?
Here is how the Times describes playtime for a group of five-year-old braniacs: Four of the boys went to the corner to build an intricate highway structure and a factory from wooden blocks, while two others built trucks.
One girl helped them, by creating signs on Post-its to stick on the buildings.
On a roster, she neatly recorded the names of the three children who joined her for the lesson: Skyler, Isabelle and Bayla. Gifted boys and girls are just like other children in one respect: in both groups, the girls are more mature, more verbal, and more capable of sitting still.
Until a few years ago, admissions directors for New York City’s gifted programs took account of these differences and through a series of tests, interviews, and observations managed to recruit roughly equal numbers of budding engineers and linguists.Many average children with assertive parents found their way into the city’s elite programs—and many brilliant but socially disadvantaged children never had a chance.The Bloomberg administration imposed a uniform and transparent admission process so that all applicants (about 15,000 four- and five-year-olds) now take the same two standardized tests.To give just one example, here is what a group of Scottish psychologists found in 2002 when they analyzed the results of IQ tests given to nearly all 11-year-olds in Scotland in 1932.This study, one of the most comprehensive in the literature, shows that for the highest IQ score of 140, boys outnumbered girls 277 to 203 (or 57.7 percent boys vs.But as Terry Neu, an expert on gifted boys, told me, sitting still for an extended period of time is not one of them.The capacity to remain seated for a long test does not reliably measure brilliance, but requiring pre-K children to do it is a sure way of securing more places for girls than boys in a gifted program.More males are mentally deficient, and more are freakishly brilliant.The difference in variation isn’t huge, but it is large enough and consistent enough that a fair selection process should produce more boys than girls in a gifted and talented program.American boys across the ability spectrum and in all age groups have become second-class citizens in the nation’s schools. Boys are falling behind girls in our nation’s schools.Fewer boys graduate from high school, and boys are less likely to attend college.