Women graduate in STEM more than boys: It’s video games?

April 21, 2010 at 10:17 am 3 comments

I found this report interesting, both because of its claim and because of the (what seems to me to be) horrendously flawed logic.  Women are increasingly taking more STEM classes, the author claims, and are nearly catching up to men.  However, more women graduate!  Why?  Well, of course, because men play more video games!  I might use this as an example of correlation-is-not-causation next time I teach the research methods section of my educational technology class.

The number of women taking courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects, has been increasing since 1966 according to a new report. But another study, on boys’ academic responses to new video games, establishes a cause-and-effect relationship that could partly explain the decline in male academic achievement.

Women students in higher education now outnumber men in most countries, except Japan and Turkey. In the US, this has skewed the ratio among the sexes in terms of those who graduate: the proportion of males earning degrees has dropped to 43% while that for women has increased to 57%.

via University World News – US: Women gain in science while video games hold back boys.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. judy Robertson  |  April 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Ouch! That is a dodgy argument.

    “But the proof that video-games-cause-a-decline-in-academics is now in hand, published in the February 2010 issue of Psychological Science.” Except it isn’t, as far as i can see from that issue of the journal. I would have been interested to see this so called “cause and effect” data.

  • 2. Alfred Thompson  |  April 21, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I do know a male student who flunked out of college because he played too much video games but I find that as a major factor on a national level somewhat unlikely. More likely are other issues. Like perhaps a gap between male and female students in reading and writing which seems to be growing but which seems to upset few.

  • 3. Jeff Graham  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    It’s more than just STEM classes on our campus. The avergage woman’s GPA on our campus is about 1/2 a point higher than the average male.

    I sometimes wonder if it might not be partially explained by elementary school. In our local school districts, about the only males in the school are janitors and P.E. teachers.


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