The News-Democrat from Carrollton ran a story yesterday, “Girls’ group provides focus on technology, mathematics, science,” that caught my attention. The article says that a new, girls only club for science is being established at the Carroll County Middle School.
We hear a lot about how girls don’t do as well as boys in science, so on the surface you probably think this sounds like a good idea. In fact, if you look at the seventh grade 2012-13 KPREP science results in this school’s Kentucky School Report Card, males were 58.6 percent proficient and females were only 44.9 percent proficient.
The catch, of course, is that the KPREP science test currently in use is a hold-over from the old CATS testing era. The results are suspect. So, I dug a bit deeper.
Things got a lot more interesting when I checked out the school’s 2012-13 EXPLORE test results, which are for eighth grade students.
Here is a screen shot of the EXPLORE report for Carroll County Middle School with the science section enlarged. EXPLORE, by the way, is aligned to what kids need for college and careers. That is quite unlike the old CATS tests, which as far as I can tell were never aligned to anything.
Guess what. On the more credible EXPLORE test, girls in this school significantly outscore boys in science.
In fact, girls outscore boys across the board on EXPLORE in this school, even in mathematics.
So, if this school wants to put a priority by sex for extra education opportunities – science included – maybe they need to do it for the boys, not the girls. At least, that is what the most credible data shows.