The New York Times and Wall Street Journal each report today on a study in this week’s Science comparing girls’ and boys’ math scores. The study, which I have not read, apparently found that there is no gender gap in average scores, and so the Times crows in its first sentence that Larry Summers was wrong.
Except he wasn’t, as someone who remembers what Summers actually said and who reads the Journal version (sorry, no link) would know. Summers did not say that females’ average scores were lower than males’; he said that, while the averages may be the same, girls’ scores are clumped in the middle and there were more male scores at the extremes — and, of course, top faculties hire off the extreme right “tail” of the bell curve. And, what do you know, the lead sentence of the Journal vindicates this: “Girls and boys have roughly the same average scores on state math tests, but boys more often excelled or failed, researchers reported.”