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One reason why girls outperform boys in school may be sleep cycles

The Seattle Times – Paige Cornwell

“The decision by several area school districts, including Seattle, to delay start times for high-school classes has been touted as a positive move that better matches teens’ biological clocks and helps them learn better. Now a new study suggests that later start times may have a particular benefit for boys. Researchers from the University of California, Davis looked at scores from a six-year experiment involving middle and high schools in Eastern Europe where students’ classes alternated every month between starting at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The boys’ test performance increased more in afternoon classes. Their scores, on average, didn’t reach or surpass the girls’ scores, but that the gap between the scores shrunk by 16 percent.”(more)

This Popular Math Class Is At The Heart Of The STEM Gender Gap, Study Suggests

The Huffington Post – Dominique Mosbergen

“The gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is widely reported. Only one-quarter of college graduates entering careers in STEM in the U.S. are women. The numbers are even more dismal in fields like physics and engineering. Only about 1 in 10 physicists and astronomers are women. About 8 percent of mechanical engineers are female. But here’s the rub: Girls are just as interested and are definitely not less skilled in STEM subjects than boys. In fourth grade, both genders report similar rates of interest in science. From K-12, female and male students generally perform equally well on standardized math and science tests. High school boys and girls also enroll in advanced science courses at comparable rates.”(more)

Encouraging Women’s Confidence in Math Skills Could Increase the Percentage of Women in the STEM Workforce

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“Getting more women to be interested and therefore represented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is a national priority; a new study has provided some insight into where efforts could be best focused. According to a recently published study from researchers Jessica Ellis, Bailey K. Fosdick and Chris Rasmussen, women are 1.5 times more likely to leave the STEM pipeline after calculus than men and a lack of confidence in their abilities to tackle advanced math could be to blame. Because Calculus is a challenging but necessary part of advancing into many STEM fields, it has been proven to dissuade many people from continuing their pursuits. While more women are likely to be dissuaded by Calculus than men, research supports that a lack of confidence is mostly to blame as opposed to a lack of ability.”(more)

OECD Report Examines Differences Between Boys, Girls

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has examined gender differences in education, particularly discussing underperformance among boys, a lack of self confidence in girls, and influences that stem from family life, school, and society. The report, “The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence,” attempts to uncover the reason why 15-year-old boys are typically more likely than girls to not become proficient in reading, math, and science, as well as why 15-year-old girls, who are high-achieving in other areas, are unable to do so in the areas of math, science, and problem-solving in comparison to underachieving boys.”(more)

Vocational Training Works Pays Off More for Boys Than for Girls

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“New research out of Cornell University suggests that whether high schools decide to focus on offering college preparation courses or vocational training could profoundly affect young women. Lead author April Sutton found that while blue-collar training without a focus on college preparation may result in blue-collar jobs for men, women are instead punished when entering the workforce. “This has been a real blind spot in the public discussion: the assumption that men and women would equally benefit from high school training for local blue-collar jobs,” Sutton said…Researchers suggest that the issue needs additional attention as both political parties begin to consider pushing blue-collar related vocational training. They add that careful attention needs to be considered for women, as the hourly gender wage gap for high school graduates between the ages of 25 and 28 was found to be 22%, with women making 78 cents for every dollar made by a man.”(more)

How One Museum Is Inspiring Young Girls to Pursue STEM

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“It’s been a U.S. focus over the past decade and increasingly so in the past few years to encourage young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There’s just one problem. Despite the coordinated efforts, women and minorities are consistently left behind. STEM-related employment and education activity continues to increase year over year, but degrees and jobs are primarily dominated by white and Asian males…advocates have been narrowing their focus to narrow the gender gap. Their goal? Figure out how to make STEM fields more attractive to women by chipping away at layers of cultural norms that do the opposite. Such an example is the Women in Science Initiative run by the Connecticut Science Center.”(more)