STEM is an integral part of students lives and their futures. Over half of students, boys and girls, expect to use science, technology, engineering and math when they finish school (56% and 55%, respectively). But boys and girls differ when looking specifically at their interest in STEM-related jobs. While 70% of boys say they are interested in a STEM career, just 58% of girls feel the same way. Not only do girls express less interest, but they are also less likely to see themselves in STEM careers. Just 36% of girls say they are the type of person who can have a job in STEM, compared to 45% of boys.

There are many proposed explanations for this gap: inherent lack of interest among girls, a shortage of female role models, and fewer opportunities for hands-on STEM learning at a young age. But EVERFI’s data shows no evidence that differences in ability explain this gap. Using data from our Endeavor – STEM Career Exploration course, we found no discernible difference between assessment scores of girls and boys.

Across three modules that tested knowledge of topics such as manufacturing, data literacy, and the design process, girls and boys scored within a point of each other on pre-assessments. After completing Endeavor, girls and boys finished the course with equivalent post-assessment scores.

Our data shows that girls do not come into our courses with a lower propensity for STEM topics nor do they leave the course less prepared to tackle STEM topics. The gap that we see in interest in STEM careers comes from something other than ability. What explicit actions are we taking to ensure that interest gap closes?

Endeavor helps increase interest in STEM careers for all students by encouraging growth in STEM skills while introducing students to exciting STEM futures.

¹Survey of 18,466 middle school and high school students who took Endeavor – STEM Exploration from July 1st to December 18th, 2017.

Bridget Parker is a Research Analyst at EVERFI, analyzing and reporting on data from our 2 million K-12 learners. She comes from a background in public opinion polling and is based in our Washington, DC office.