Girls are outscoring boys when in the subjects of technology and engineering literacy — this was the finding reported on in a study done by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP, an organization that assesses the knowledge and aptitude of US students on a variety of topics, released these findings via The Nation’s Report Card.
Another surprise: these numbers show a marked improvement over the 2014 findings, further, girls are also outscoring their male counterparts by a wider margin then they were in 2014. According to test results, 8th grade girls scored an average of five points higher than boys on the 300-point scale.
The numbers are believed to reflect the decade-long push to provide more opportunities for girls in subjects that were traditionally low-scoring for them. Subjects like science, technology, engineering and math — collectively known as STEM — have all seen increased efforts to be more inclusive and accessible.
Even technology giants like Microsoft realize there’s a need to encourage young girls to go into STEM-related fields. In 2018, Microsoft conducted a study to determine why girls between the ages of 10 and 30 seemed to lose interest in industries related to math and science over time. The findings showed girls were less likely to follow through with careers in these industries due to a lack of role models, opportunities and encouragement.
Peggy Carr, associate commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics, said that believes these performance numbers indicate a “meaningful statement” when she delivered the findings this week. Carr went on to explain that even though boys were still taking engineering classes at a higher rate than girls, girls were outscoring boys regardless of whether or not they’d taken an engineering class.
This could be good news for the US economy as jobs in STEM-related fields are expected to continue to increase in the coming years.