# Mumsnet Talk

## More or less boys than girls in the top maths set in your dc's school?

(72 Posts)
BraveMerida Tue 26-Nov-13 13:04:09

It's an interesting observation that in dc's year 4 top maths set, only 8 out of 22 are girls. I'm now wondering what the girl: boy ratio is in other primary schools and into secondary school. I know that, for whatever the reasons may be, by the time they get to the end of secondary it is very unbalanced, but I was surprised to see such imbalance so early on in primary school.

What are you observations wrt maths and the gender gap, what do you think?

Tue 26-Nov-13 13:18:38

I work in a Y2 class.
At the moment there are more girls than boys in the top maths set. There are also more boys than girs in the lower set.

I say at the moment - that is just for this current peice of work as they do change fairly regularly, depending on what we ar eworking on.

BraveMerida Tue 26-Nov-13 13:27:18

So you have sets within each Maths topic rather than overall for Maths...?

I'm hoping that any imbalance is a statistically bleep at this age.

redskyatnight Tue 26-Nov-13 15:12:11

I would say it's fairly equal in both DC's years (Y3 and Y5).

Lancelottie Tue 26-Nov-13 15:15:08

That's a very small sample, Brave. Given that 50:50 would be 11 girls, you are pretty close with 8.

Tue 26-Nov-13 15:20:02

All our sets/tablesgroups change depending on what we do.

In maths for example - a child who is good at calculations may struggle with time telling, or another may be excellent at shape but struggle with co-ordinates. So, they change to reflect what we we are working on.

BlueStringPudding Tue 26-Nov-13 15:23:17

DD is the only girl in her AS class (of 20) for Maths at her Sixth Form College, we think this is because she is doing Physics/Mechanics, and although they don't seem to 'set' per se, all those in her class are predicted A/A*. The other sets do have more girls in them, and I think they said that overall the male/female ratio was about 60/40.

She's one of 5 girls in her Physics class.

Preciousbane Tue 26-Nov-13 15:27:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tue 26-Nov-13 17:04:49

In dd's year 6 top maths set the girls outnumber the boys by about 2:1

timetoplaysanta Tue 26-Nov-13 17:09:57

My DS is in Y5 in the top maths set. He said there are 5 girls and 12 boys.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 26-Nov-13 17:14:34

ds1 (yr 6) is the top set.
Set below him, I don't think has any girls - but there are about 15 boys and only 8 girls in his year.

Surely it depends on the ratio of boys and girls in the year group? My current year group has 17 girls and 42 boys! There must have been y chromosomes in the water that year!

teta Tue 26-Nov-13 19:36:43

Dd2 in year 5 is the only girl in a group of 7 in the top maths group.

HmmAnOxfordComma Tue 26-Nov-13 20:07:15

Last three years of primary school, ds had him, three other boys and just one girl who were the top group in both maths and English.

Now at secondary, I think the top set is roughly 50:50, the middle set has slightly more girls and the bottom set slightly more boys.

I seem to remember reading in more than one source that boys are more likely to be outliers than girls, ie. to be much higher or lower than average ability, and that girls are more likely to group around the middle

HmmAnOxfordComma Tue 26-Nov-13 20:11:59

Sorry meant to say that that tallies with my experience of seeing boys at the very top who are often more capable than the 'top' girls at subjects like English, too, but, again, bottom sets for English can often be wholly full of boys.

Who knows how much of this is cultural and attitude/effort related and how much intrinsic ability?

Tue 26-Nov-13 20:23:51

Both DD1 and DS had 50:50 girls and boys in the top maths set at secondary but DD2's year was completely dominated by girls with more of them going on to do Maths and Further Maths at A level.

Metebelis3 Tue 26-Nov-13 20:28:13

DD2 is in Y6, there are 3 children in the top maths set (working at L6) - 1 girl (her) and 2 boys. There are 3 other children on the top table, all bioys, but they are doing different work (L5, middle to lower end). Table 2 has equal girls and boys and is also working at L5. I asked DS how many boys/girls there are in his maths set (Y9, second set in top division, working at L7/8). He has literally no idea. He's not terribly observant or indeed in possession of sufficient arse to care. :D

CountingStars Tue 26-Nov-13 20:29:55

My sister (Year 11) has 6 girls in her maths class, and 25 boys.

MirandaWest Tue 26-Nov-13 20:32:46

The top group in year 5 DSs class is 3 boys and one girl - the top group in year 3 DDs class is 3 boys and two girls. I help in both classes with those groups so know the makeup.
Both classes have more boys than girls (school overall does).

When I was at school the top maths set had a lot more girls - was about 24 girls to 8 boys I think. More girls than boys in maths, physics and further maths as well. Think my year had mathematical girls.

Tue 26-Nov-13 20:33:52

statistically, the distribution of maths intelligence for boys is wider than girls (most maths genius types are men) so in a decent size cohort, top sets in maths will be more boys than girls

a sample size of 22 has such a large standard deviation that its not significant

DCs year group has 300 kids - top maths set is almost equal, top science set has more girls (but girls work harder and the sets are shuffled each year!)

Metebelis3 Tue 26-Nov-13 22:32:32

I think it's fair to say DD2 currently benefits from having a mathmo for a mum. I think that advantage wanes as kids get older. At her age a lot of it is confidence and she has never seen maths as something to be scared of, it's fun. Spellings, now they are deffo something to be scared of.

beingagoodmumishard Tue 26-Nov-13 22:51:27

DS is in Y4 and in a class of 30, which I think is evenly split between girls and boys, the top set is 5 boys and 2 girls. When I helped with maths in Y3 the next set was mainly girls, then a further 2 sets were evenly split and the bottom set was mainly boys.
Interestingly the girls in the top set keep changing but the boys remain pretty constant and possibly even more interestingly all the boys names start with the same letter

Tue 26-Nov-13 23:29:34

This is quite interesting (although "math" makes my teeth itch).

chickydoo Tue 26-Nov-13 23:35:58

DS yr 4 top set for maths 2 girls 14 boys

ErrolTheDragon Tue 26-Nov-13 23:50:23

That is interesting, web. I was delighted that DDs primary school had a maths specialist (who took all the yr5 and 6 classes) - she had a maths degree and so there was absolutely none of that destructive 'female teacher math anxiety' syndrome.

They didn't set the children, I don't think there was much difference in the ability spread by gender. Her secondary school top maths set is all girls... its a girls school

My own schooling, there was only myself and one other girl doing double maths A level but between us we beat the lads - to hell with that bell curve!

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