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Gender Differences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Interest, Credits Earned, and NAEP Performance in the 12th Grade


"As technical and scientific innovation continue to drive the global economy, educators, policymakers, and scientists seek to promote students' interest and achievement in the STEM fields to maintain the nation's competitive position (National Academy of Sciences 2006; National Science Board 2007; President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology 2012). Many researchers have studied differences in male and female students' attitudes toward and performance in STEM courses and assessments. While some research shows that gaps in male and female performance on STEM-related assessments have narrowed or even closed (Lindberg et al. 2010), other research continues to report gender differences in student affective dispositions (i.e., interest) toward mathematics and science, as well as differences in student performance in mathematics and science, especially in math-intensive science fields (Ceci et al. 2014; White House Council on Women and Girls 2011). This Statistics in Brief describes high school graduates' attitudes toward STEM courses (specifically, mathematics and science), credits earned in STEM fields, and performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics and science assessments in 2009."