Female Students Tend to Outperform Boys Globally

Girls' overall achievement in school outperforms boys' in 70% of the countries that a group of researchers examined for a new study published in Intelligence.

Girls’ overall achievement in school outperforms boys’ in 70% of the countries that a group of researchers examined for a new study published in Intelligence.

While it is believed that boys across the world have superior abilities in math, researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Glasgow in Scotland posit that this line of thinking may not be accurate.

The authors used 4 international assessments of academic achievement for the 1.5 million 15-year-old students in their study, which spanned from 2000 to 2010.

They found that girls outperformed boys in assessments of reading, mathematics, and science literacy among 70% of the participating countries. Girls only performed worse than boys in 3 places: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Himachal Pradesh, which is an Indian state.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, boys and girls demonstrated similar educational achievements, the study authors found.

The researchers included many countries where economic and political equality were lacking. In Qatar, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, where women typically experience less gender equality, the female students saw better results. Overall, the researchers found that gender equality was not linked to differences in educational achievement.

“The results raise doubts about the relation between national equality policies and mathematics achievement, and raise broader questions regarding women’s underrepresentation in political, economic, and academic leadership despite stronger academic skills and regarding the long-term economic prospects and social stability of nations with many men who are not competitive in the modern economy,” the study authors concluded.