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Study: Talented Kids Ducking Math to Dodge "Nerd" Label

The United States needs to do a better job of identifying children with talent in math, according to a new study published in Notices of the American Mathematics Society.

The SAT and other standardized math tests do not measure the creativity, insight and reasoning skills needed to perform math at its highest levels, so many children who could excel in math are overlooked.

Professors Janet and Jonathan Mertz, Joseph Gallian and Titu Andreescu, authors of the study, wrote that the United States' culture does not value math talent, and many high school students stay away from high level math courses and competitions for fear of being "nerdy." This is true of all students, but is particularly relevant for girls. American girls who excel in math are almost always immigrants, or daughters of immigrants, from cultures where math is valued.

"We're living in a culture that is telling girls you can't do math - that's telling everybody that only Asians and nerds do math," said Dr. Janet Mertz. "Kids in high school, where social interactions are really important, think, 'If I'm not an Asian or a nerd, I'd better not be on the math team.' Kids are self-selecting. For social reasons, they're not even trying."

Labels: benefits, math, talents

Posted By: Aspen Education Group