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Oxford University extends time for maths to help women

Jan 21, 2018 by

Undergraduates given 105 minutes to complete papers rather than 90 minutes

Hoped change will reduce ‘effects of time pressure’, thought to impact women

Seven female maths finalists achieved firsts last year compared with 45 men

Proposals called ‘sexist’ by some claiming it suggested women were ‘weaker sex’

Oxford University has extended time for maths and computer science exams in a bid to help women get better grades.

Undergraduates were given 105 minutes to complete their papers, rather 90.

There was no change in difficulty or the length of questions and female students were said to do better as a result.

Oxford University has extended time for maths and computer science exams in a bid to help women get better grades (file photo)

Oxford University has extended time for maths and computer science exams in a bid to help women get better grades (file photo)

Dons trialed the changes to allow women to achieve higher results, with just seven female maths finalists achieving firsts last year compared with 45 men.

The proposals were put forward to reduce the ‘undue effects of time pressure’ which the prestigious university believe effects women more than men, reports the Sunday Times.

However, critics have slammed the changes as ‘sexist’ as they believe it suggests that women are the weaker sex.

A document obtained by the Times, under Freedom of Information laws, showed that faculty at the university believed the changes could: ‘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.’

While experts suggest there are no gender differences in mathematical ability, Sarah Hart, maths professor at Birkbeck, University of London, said she had noticed that female students double-checked their answers before suggesting them in class.

Source: Oxford University extends time for maths to help women | Daily Mail Online

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