TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) scores are valuable tools for evaluating students’ academic preparation. TIMSS is a global evaluation given every four years to students in the fourth and eighth grades to measure their understanding of mathematics and science concepts. On the other hand, PISA is administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and assesses 15-year-old students’ reading, maths, and science abilities. By evaluating these scores, educators and administrators can identify patterns that may indicate areas of academic preparation strength or weakness. Educators can examine the scores of boys and girls to determine disparities and provide academic preparation to resolve gender gaps.
TIMSS math and science scores for Spain in 2019 show a discrepancy in scores between boys and girls. Boys score 509 points in math on average, while girls score 495 points. Science scores for girls are almost equal to those of boys, averaging 511 points. Boys scored 485 on the PISA mathematics section, higher than girls, who scored 478. Similarly, in science, boys outperformed girls by two points.
In addition to academic achievement, PISA also provides information about students’ career goals. In 2018, 16 percent of boys expressed interest in being scientists or engineers, compared to 7.3 percent of girls. The data suggest that more boys are interested in careers in STEM, encouraging us to examine how we can inspire and motivate more girls to consider engineering and science professions.
OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume I): What Students Know and Can Do, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris.
National Center for Education Statistics (2021). TIMSS 2019 Report. U.S. Department of Education.