102 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
PISA assesses the knowledge and skills of students in math, literacy and
science every three years. It also surveys students’ attitudes towards
learning. PISA seemed like a good match to my criteria. While not based
on international school settings, it provides a wealth of information about
international trends in education. PISA compares students across
countries and across gender. This made it an excellent source for my
inquiry into gender equality in education.
Key PISA (2015) Findings Related to Gender Equity:
Boys outperform girls in math in 38 countries by an average of 11
score points, the equivalent of about 3 months of school.
Top Performers: The gender gap is 20 points in math and 11
points in science in favor of boys.
In 2012, 39% of young men entering college for the first time
choose a science related (engineering, manufacturing, and
construction included) field of study, only 14% of young women
chose a science related field of study.
In no country do high-performing girls outperform high-performing boys.
In the large majority of countries and economies, high-performing girls underperform high-performing boys in
Focusing on the Gender Gap in Math Achievement
Since PISA indicated a gender gap in math which favored boys, I decided
to focus on finding more math achievement data. I turned to the TIMSS
2011 International Results in Mathematics (2012). The TIMSS reports
math and science achievement for students in 4th and 8th grade every
four years. It gathers data from 63 countries and 14 benchmarking
entities (states representing countries) around the world. I chose this
report because it presents international data on math achievement,
which may be more relevant to international schools like ASB.
TIMSS (2012) Findings
In 4th grade math achievement, 26 of 50 countries showed no
significant difference by gender, 20 countries demonstrated a