Girls outscore boys in tech & engineering

Posted at 10:21 AM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 10:21:36-04

HOUSTON, TX-- When Beyonce sang, "Who run the world? Girls!" five years ago, it seemed more like wishful thinking than reality.

But Queen Bee was onto something. In a study just released, girls outscored boys when it came to engineering and technology, fields society has always said were more geared toward boys.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP for short) tested 21,500 8th graders across America, and girls outscored boys by three points on average. When it came to questions involving collaboration and communication, girls were five points higher. And with questions of information technology, they topped boys by six points.

"I think it surprises those who do not understand the power that women hold or who underestimate what women can do," says 11th grade engineering student Jamelia Reed at Houston's Young Women's College Prep Academy.

Classmate Starr Morris agrees, "When I was little, I wanted to be a pediatrician because I really liked kids and helping them. But now... that I got into this school and the STEM of it, I just saw how much more potential I had in STEM, rather than being a pediatrician."

"Being exposed to engineering and math and science, which is one of my favorite subjects," says 10th grader Courtney Dubuclet, "I wanna be a forensic scientist and an architect when I grow up."

Astra Zeno teaches engineering and computer science at the all-girl school and says she thinks after puberty, single gender teaching is the better way to go. "I think from this age, middle to high school, girls are actually good at math and science but sometimes they shy away from showing their prowess because of the nature of interaction between the genders in class. I've seen girls bring their (raised) hands down because they didn't want to be teased for knowing the right answer."

With Reed, the proof is in the pudding. "What I wanted to do as a little girl was play professional basketball," the tall girl with long braids and braces explains, "and then I came here, and I was just amazed by all the STEM careers available and I was like, 'Well, there's more to life than basketball.'"

"A woman can do anything a man can,"  she says with a grin, "maybe even better."

Perhaps girls are built to run the world. Could be good news for Hillary come November!