Girls just might have an edge on boys when it comes to technology and engineering, according to results from the first-ever national test of technology and engineering literacy made public Tuesday. Among more than 20,000 eighth-grade students in both public and private schools across the nation, 45 percent of girls scored proficient on the exam, which was administered in 2014, whereas only 42 percent of boys reached that mark. Overall, 43 percent of students scored proficient.
The test, known as the National Assessment for Educational Progress, was designed to measure students' abilities in "understanding technological principles, designing solutions, and communicating and collaborating," The Washington Post reports. Girls performed particularly well in the communication and collaboration portion of the test.
"We did not expect this pattern, and the pattern does seem to be pretty clear from the data overall," said Peggy Carr, the acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics. "It looks like girls have the ability and critical thinking skills to succeed in fields of technology and engineering, and that is worth noting."