To see more women in science, deal with test-taking anxiety in girls

In a recent standardized science test given to 15-year-olds in 72 countries, there was almost no gap in the scores between boys and girls. The latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test administered by the OECD every three years to more than half a million students, found that boys scored 4 points, or less than 1%, better than girls in science. In the assessment, in 2015, boys outperformed girls in 24 places, with the biggest gaps in Austria, Costa Rica, and Italy. Girls outperformed boys in 22, with Finland, Qatar and Jordan among those with the biggest gaps favoring girls.
But the OECD find one notable difference between the sexes: in every single country tested, girls had much higher levels of schoolwork- and test-related anxiety than boys. On average across OECD countries, girls were about 13 percentage points more likely than boys to report they get very tense when they study. Girls were also 17 percentage points more likely to feel “very anxious” ahead of a test, even if