RELEASE: The Common Core Helps Close Achievement Gaps, Open Doors to STEM Jobs, New Fact Sheet from CAP and AAUW Illustrates

Washington, D.C. — The Common Core State Standards are an important tool for closing achievement gaps for girls and women—particularly girls and women of color. The Common Core can open the door to high-paying jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, fields, a new fact sheet from the Center for American Progress and American Association of University Women, or AAUW, illustrates.

CAP and AAUW’s fact sheet notes that by establishing high-quality, uniform, and rigorous standards, the Common Core helps ensure that all students are taught to the same high expectations. The fact sheet looks at how the Common Core State Standards can impact and benefit girls and women starting from K-12, through higher education, and after college and beyond. It also touches on improving school achievement, reducing the need for remedial courses in college, increasing the number of women in STEM fields, and closing the wage gap after college. Key statistics from the fact sheet include:

  • On the eighth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, a nationally representative assessment of the knowledge and skills of American students, girls are 20 percent less likely to achieve proficiency in science than boys.
  • Girls are underrepresented among AP test-takers in nearly all STEM fields. In 2013, male students outnumbered female students by more than 2.5-to-1 on the Physics C exam.
  • The pay gap between women and men is established directly after college. In 2009, college-educated women made, on average, 82 percent of men’s salaries one year after graduation. Although there is still a gap, the gap narrows when women pursue STEM majors and careers, which are built on a strong foundation in mathematics.

“High expectations and rigorous standards—including those embodied by the Common Core—are essential to raising student achievement. Success in STEM fields is crucial not only for students themselves, but for our national economic outlook,” said Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at CAP. “Nothing should stand in the way of girls and women succeeding in STEM classes or careers. The Common Core will help build powerful academic foundation for all students.”

“Bias and stereotypes prevent girls from performing well in STEM, pursuing STEM majors, and ultimately working in high-paying STEM fields,” said Lisa Maatz, AAUW Vice President of Government Relations. “Our research has found that one way to mitigate stereotypes’ damaging effects is through explicit and transparent standards, such as the Common Core. The Common Core ensures that all students are being taught the standards they need to succeed.

Click here to read “For Women and Girls, the Common Core is a Step Towards Greater Equity” from the Center for American Progress and the American Association of University Women.