This might sound old fashioned but I’m not overly worried about a gender difference in our schools as I feel that boys and girls are, and will always be, slightly different. I don’t consider it concerning, for example, that girls outrank boys at school.
What I do feel however, is that there are general challenges in education that if dealt with properly, should see girls and boys progress far more rapidly:
All around the world, teenage girls are more likely than boys to reach a basic level of proficiency in math, science and reading. However, among the world’s highest achieving students, girls continue to lag behind boys in math, according to a report released Thursday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The comprehensive, 176-page report looks at gender differences in student performance across 64 countries and economies. The OECD distributes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an exam taken by 15-year-olds around the world, every three years, and used results from the 2012 test as a lens into the issue of gender equality in education.
Overall, the report highlights the increasing gap between male and female academic achievement — and shows that young women are often performing better than their male peers. Girls are now going to school longer than boys and significantly outperform boys in reading. Across countries examined in the report, boys are more likely to post low scores in math, reading and science.
Compared to girls, boys are more likely to say they think school is a waste of time, show up late to class and generally be less ambitious with their education and career expectations. They also spend less time doing homework and reading for pleasure, and more time playing video games or engaging with technology.
Evidence suggests that even though boys underperform in school as teenagers, they tend to gain necessary literacy skills by adulthood. Previous surveys from the OECD show that men are just as proficient as women in literacy by adulthood.
Yet top-performing girls continue to lag behind top-performing boys in math and science — which is related to the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and math jobs. The results are especially bleak in math. In science, top-performing boys outscore top-performing girls on average, but there are a number of countries where girls post overall higher scores than boys in this area. But in math, boys significantly outperform girls, on average, in 38 countries and economies. In just a few places, such as Shanghai and Singapore, girls perform as well as their male classmates.
Click on the link to read Our Education System Betrays Boys
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Click on the link to read Should We Include Feminism in the Curriculum?
Click on the link to read Arguments For and Against Single-Sex Education