The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


This paper studies the gender gap in academic achievement using a nationally representative survey of middle school students in China. Chinese girls outperform boys in Mathematics, Chinese, and English by 13.5%, 62.1%, and 61.5% of a standard deviation, respectively, which is one of the largest gender gaps in the world. Using the OLS regression with interactions between gender and family-, teacher-, and school-level variables, I show that girls benefit from having a same-sex teacher in Mathematics and Chinese. For boys, however, the effect of sex congruence with the subject teacher is insignificant in all three subjects. Girls’ resilience in the face of adverse family and school environments also contributes to the gap. In dysfunctional families and lower-ranking schools, the female advantage is even more pronounced.