Girls outperform boys in technology test

By : |May 17, 2016 0

How many times have you woken up to see the newspapers report that girls have secured more marks than boys? While it is not only true for India, but also for the US.

In a test by National Assessment of Educational Progress to examine how students use technology to solve real-world problems- girls outperformed boys. In the first of its kind test of “technology and engineering literacy” on the so-called Nation’s Report Card.

As per the report card, 45% of the girls scored proficient or better, 42% of boys did so. The test was given by eighth-graders who took the test in 2014. However, not substantial, still gender gap did surprise the officials who ran the tests.

This is also because girls often tend to match or lag behind boys on average in math on the organization’s exams.

“We did not expect this pattern,” said Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.

It was a new kind of test conducted on laptops aimed to assess how U.S. students will fare in a competitive modern world. It was wonderful to see that girls showed stronger skills than boys in collaborating, designing systems and communicating using technological tools, including on dealing with a virtual actor in the hour long test. “Girls have the abilities and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in fields of technology and engineering,” Ms. Carr said.

In today’s age, many careers depend on the ability to innovate. The test was aimed at judging them on their analytical skills, in a new interactive manner which included solving a range of problems in the field of designing and troubleshooting, generating data and using evidence to justify decisions.

For example one of the tasks given to the students included details about an agitated classroom iguana, and they were to find ways to fix his wire cage to keep him from getting cold and dehydrated. While another one asked students to apply an engineering design process to come up with safe routes for bike lanes in a city.

However what was disturbing was the overall 43% proficiency rate, which was lower. It definitely strengthens the belief that the US has a skills gap and an “aspirations gap” around careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

In the test the questionnaires asked students about the source of their learnings in the field of building, fixing things and understanding how things work. The majority of them answered family members as the key authority on this subject.

While, around half the eighth-graders voiced that they hadn’t taken any courses related to technology or engineering.

This test was conducted on a sample of about 21,500 eighth-graders from more than 800 public and private schools. The officials claim that the same will serve as a baseline for the next round in 2018.

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