Zhou and his colleagues selected 12 priamary schools in and around Beijing, China and perform series of test children ages 8 to 11.
On analysis of data they found that girls outperformed boys in many math skills. Girls better performed in tasks like simple substration and complex multiplications suggesting a strong hold on arithmetic, in compare to boys. Not only that, girls were also better at numerosity comparison and outperformed boys at quickly recognizing the larger of two numbers and at completing a series of numbers (like “2 4 6 8”).
Boys performed better at mentally rotating three-dimensional images.
Zhou and his colleagues noted that Girls were also better at judging whether two words rhymed- this is the key to their better math performance- suggest the researchers. Further they explain, “Arithmetic and even advanced math needs verbal processing, Counting is verbal; the multiplication table is memorized verbally, and when people are doing multiple-digit calculations, they hold the intermediate results in their memory as words.
“Better language skills could lead to more efficient verbal processing in arithmetic,” Zhou says. He thinks it might be possible to use these results to help both boys and girls learn math better. Boys could use more help with verbal strategies for learning math terms, while girls might benefit from more practice with spatial skills.