If an effort to raise the test scores of women studying math and computer science, Oxford University has extended the test taking time limit for female students.
The Daily Mail reports, female undergrads were permitted 15 additional minutes over male students in an endeavor to even the playing field. The exams remained identical, but the extra time was said to be effective in raising the scores of the woman.
The scheme was revealed in a document obtained by the Times that the prestigious U.K. institution–that once educated the likes of John Locke, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Bell, Sir Andre Wiles, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Rupert Murdoch–aims to “mitigate the… gender gap that has arisen in recent years, and in any case the exam should be a demonstration of mathematical understanding and not a time trial.”
The gender segregation in allotted time is revisiting the question of biological differences between men and woman regarding their aptitude in areas such as math and science.
Former president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, addressed these questions during his tenure in 2005, causing a backlash from feminists on and off campus. The ire resulted in Summers issuing an apology and resignation.
Oxford faculty has not commented on biological difference or pattern of ability between the sexes in scholastics, however it is believed women have more of a tendency to check their work.
The addition time resulted in the scores of female students improving.
“While there is clearly more progress to be made, the departments will continue with the longer papers for the foreseeable future, monitoring the exam data carefully,” the University said in a statement.
For the foreseeable future, the pressure of the “male” time in some departments will not be an obstacle the ladies will be dealing with.
Perhaps the more interesting, albeit unintended results, are the improvements in the female scores possibly verifying differences in the brains of male and female humans. The desired improvements may lead to policy changes in curriculum around the world, as well as giving universities a new approach on how to best educate different genders.
feature image via The Telegraph