Girls Score Higher on STEM Assessment
Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveal that eighth grade girls scored better than boys on an assessment focused on technology and engineering. Of the 21,500 boys and girls attending both public and private schools who were tested, only 43 percent were proficient. Girls outscored boys by 3 percent with proficiency scores of 45 and 42 percent, respectively. The computer-based test was administered to 800 schools nationwide.
The test measured various abilities such as an understanding of technological concepts, ability to pinpoint solutions, and strengths in collaborating and communicating. Girls were particularly well versed on effectively working in teams and communicating with peers.
Large achievement gaps were noted when it came to racial minorities and students with lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Latino students scored 28 percent proficiency, with black students scoring 18 percent, compared to white and Asian students who scored 56 percent. Likewise, students receiving free or reduced fee lunch scored 25 percent, with more affluent students scoring 59 percent proficiency.
The discrepancies in achievement were also noted between private and public school students. Students attending private school achieved the highest at 60 percent, with public school students at 42 percent mastery. English language learners were the least proficient student segment, scoring just 5 percent.
The NAEP test results will serve as baseline figures, as this is the first technology exam of its kind administered. Results will help steer policymakers and track students’ skills over time. Data will also enable educators to design appropriate curriculum that places emphasis on problem-solving, communication and technology.