National Survey Shows Among Top High Schools Students, Boys Are More Confident Than Girls in Math

A national survey of 16- to 18-year-olds by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) shows that among America’s top high school students, not only do boys favor math more than girls, but they also have more confidence in math class.

According to the survey, 76 percent of male students describe their participation in math and science class as “frequent and confident,” whereas only 58 percent of females say the same. Twenty-eight percent of females refer to their math and science class participation as “frequent but questioning,” compared to 12 percent of males that used this description.

A strong majority of all survey respondents (89 percent of males and 76 percent of females) cited STEM subjects as their academic favorite. However, only 67 percent of females identified STEM subjects as their strongest, compared to 85 percent of males. Some 83 percent of males said they plan to pursue STEM fields in college, compared to 69 percent of females.

“While there are not huge differences in male and female views on math and STEM, the survey shows there is still a marked gender difference when it comes to subject preferences and how students view their own strengths, as well as confidence levels in math class,” says Michelle Montgomery, a program director at SIAM.

Founded in 1952 and based in Philadelphia, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics is an international community of over 14,000 individual members. Almost 500 academic, manufacturing, research and development, service and consulting organizations, government, and military organizations worldwide are institutional members.

Filed Under: Research/StudySTEM Fields

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