Effect of Gender on Short-Term Recall


The purpose of this experiment was to compare the memory of 6th grade girls and boys when recalling a list of words.

I became interested in this idea when my math teacher said that the girls were getting better scores than the boys in our math vocabulary tests. I wanted to find out if, given the same amount of time to study the words, the results would be the same.

The information gained from this experiment could help elementary teachers teach vocabulary skills easier to younger students.


My hypothesis was that sixth grade girls would have better recall results than that of the boys.

I based my hypothesis on my observation of the vocabulary test results that have been given in my math class as well as my language classes during the sixth grade.


The constants in this study were:

- The amount of students being tested

- The amount of words to memorize 

- The order of the words in the list

- The time between when the words were given and the recall test 

- The approximate age of the students 

- The place where the test was given 

- The distance between the students during the test

- The manner students responded in writing

The manipulated variable was the gender of the students who were tested. 

The responding variable was the average number of words each gender got correct.

To measure the responding variable I counted the number of correct answers on each test and found the average for each gender.  


quiz sheets
parent consent forms
list of 20 words on overhead transparency
overhead projector


1. Create and hand out parent permission slips

2. Collect signed permission slips

3. Assign students into A and B groups randomly making sure that there is the same number of boys in A as in B. Do the same with the girls. 

4. Prepare test

a. Create list with 20 words appropriate for 6th graders

b. Make overhead transparency of the list with 20 words

c. Create recall response sheet 

d. Make copies of recall response sheet for all subjects

5. Prepare room for test

       a. Separate desks 100 cm apart to avoid cheating

       b. Bring group A into the testing room

6. Read instructions and answer any questions. Tell them they can quit at any time.

7. On overhead show transparency of the 20 words to memorize.
With stopwatch give the group 2 minutes to study the list of words

8. Turn off overhead and hand out response sheets and pencils

    a. Tell students to write their name on top of the test and that they            will have 5 minutes to write as many words as they can recall.

    b. Time students with stop watch for 5 minutes 

9. After 5 minutes, end the test and collect papers

10. Have students return to their class

11. Repeat steps 5-10 for group B

12. Correct the tests using the original list of words as a key.

13. Find the average answers correct for each gender 

The original purpose of this experiment was to compare the memory of 6th grade girls and boys when recalling a list of 20 words.

The results of the experiment were that the females had a better average score but the difference was very small.  The twenty-one girls had an average of 42.9% correct while the twelve boys had an average of 39.6%.


My hypothesis was that sixth grade girls would have a better score average than that of sixth grade boys when given a recall test.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected because although girls did have a slightly higher average the difference was too small for me to believe that gender affected the short-term recall results. 

Because of the results of this experiment I wonder if the student’s distance from the words affected their ability to remember the words. 
If I were to conduct this project again I would gather more subjects and make sure that all of the students could comprehend English. I would also try to even the number of boys to girls so the results were more accurate. I would stick to my schedule and make sure everyone started at the same time.

Researched by ---Mliz B


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