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J Soc Psychol. 1999 Dec;139(6):677-89.

Gender and racial differences in mathematical performance.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


The authors examined gender and racial differences in mathematics performance among 5th- and 8th-grade students in the United States. Math performance was assessed by scores on the math-concepts and math-computation sections of the California Achievement Test (CTB/McGraw-Hill, 1986) given at the end of the previous year. There were no significant gender differences, but in both grades, the White students scored significantly higher than the Black students. The racial differences were more pronounced in the scores for concepts than in the scores for computation. Responses to a parent questionnaire showed significant relationships between parents' self-reported math anxiety, parents' most advanced math course, and parents' education level in relation to the child's math performance. Differences in these relationships suggest that, although parents' beliefs and attitudes about math influence their child's math performance, the relationship is complex and may vary with race.

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