The Assessment of Females in Mathematics

  • Megan Clark
  • Sharleen Forbes
  • Thora Blithe


Many assessment procedures in mathematics have been shown to disadvantage females in some situations. The authors show that females prefer questions set in “environmental” or “people” contexts and indicate that they do better on familiar, rather than problem-solving, questions. Performance of male and female students (both Maori and non-Maori) gives clear evidence that in secondary school national mathematics examinations, and in some university mathematics papers, females do better in the internal assessment than in the examination while the reverse is true for males. The New Zealand practice of moderating internal assessment by examination results is therefore weighted against female students. All assessment of mathematics performance should incorporate a number of different procedures in order to provide a more authentic measure of various mathematical abilities.


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Author Biographies

Megan Clark
Sharleen Forbes
Thora Blithe
How to Cite
CLARK, Megan; FORBES, Sharleen; BLITHE, Thora. The Assessment of Females in Mathematics. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 4, dec. 1994. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 oct. 2020. doi:


Women, Girls and Gender Issues