Are schools shortchanging boys or girls? The answer rests on methods and assumptions: Reply to Card (2014) and Penner (2014)

Joseph P. Robinson-Cimpian, Sarah Theule Lubienski, Colleen M. Ganley, Yasemin Copur-Gencturk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Our target article (Robinson-Cimpian, Lubienski, Ganley, & Copur-Gencturk, 2014) used nationally representative data to examine the development of gender gaps in math achievement. We found that when boys and girls demonstrate equivalent math test performance and are perceived by their teachers to be equally well behaved and engaged with the material, teachers tend to rate girls as less proficient in math than boys (Study 1). Moreover, this underrating of girls' proficiency appeared to contribute substantially to a widening gender gap in early elementary school (Study 2). In this response, we use the thoughtful comments of Card (2014) and Penner (2014) as a springboard for discussing the methodologies and assumptions of some of the most recent research using nationally representative data to explore gender inequities. In the process, we shed light on how recent works using the same data reach different conclusions. We also make recommendations regarding the use of such data for understanding the development of the gender gap and for designing effective interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1840-1844
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014



  • Achievement gap
  • Elementary school
  • Gender
  • Mathematics
  • Quasi-experimental designs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography

Cite this