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Gender and educational achievement.
Initially the government in the 1960s and 70s were worried about girls lack of achievement and
there lack of aspirations, but in the 1990s they began worrying about why the boys had began
underachieving. This created a gender gap of boys failing and girls succeeding.
But is this gender gap all it seems:
· different rates of improvements, the boys are steadily increasing their performance
where as girls have achieved it at a faster rate. This shows boys are not necessarily
underachieving any less than usual the girls are just achieving more faster.
· Also only certain social groups are failing. Meaning a high proportion of working class boys
are failing but not middle class boys are failing.
· Girls had always achieved more than boys, in the 11+ exams girls achieved better but the
stats were changed so it would seem equal amounts of boys and girls were entering
· Some of the girls social groups are failing also, a high proportion of working class girls are
Girls out perform boys in both GCSEs and A levels. Boys don't perform well in literature but they
do perform well in science, technology and maths.
Explanations of the gender gap.
Changing attitudes (external factor)- women now have different attitudes to education. In the
70s they say education and intellect as unfeminine and believed if they appeared too ambitious
and smart they would appear unattractive there main aims were love,marriage, husbands and
children. This has now change from 1990s onwards girls were aiming higher with ambitions of
higher education and their new role models were usually powerful business women. Women now
wanted a career and to be able to support themselves. This comparison was made by Sue
Employment (external factor)- the employment of women into the labour force has rose. The
amount of women and men employed was now virtually the same. There has also been new jobs
created in the service sector, welfare and communications which is more beneficial to men than
Family changes (external factor)- family changes now give women more opportunity to go out to
work. There is also incentives to get women to work like better pay if they work instead of
being a stay at home. This all encourage women to do better at school.
Feminism (external factor)- all there efforts for equality in all levels of life. Encourage and
promote a more positive attitude to work and education for women.
Educational policies (internal factors)- there have been many policies to help the performance of
girls in education. GIST- was introduced, it is Girls Into Science and Technology. And so was
WISE- women into science and engineering. These all helps girls advance and achieve better in
more male subjects. National curriculum enforce by OFSTED has specific guidelines about being
anit-sexist which so women's importance in education has increased.
Coursework(internal factor)- girls are stereotypically better at coursework and as a lot of
subjects are introducing coursework this benefits girls grades. Mitsos and Brown found girls are
better at coursework as they are organised and care for presentation and are more conscious of
the equipment and time etc so they do better at coursework.
Teacher attitudes (internal factor)- teachers do give boys more attention but it is negative
attention where as girls are seen more positively this will lead to the self fulfilling prophecy this
was claimed by Francis.
Marketisation (internal factor)- girls are seen as good achievers where as boys are a risk as they
might not achieve good grades. This means schools will compete more for girls as they will
increase the schools position of the league tables therefore the schools will get more money.
Role models in schools (internal factor)- due to feminism girls have more positive role models in
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Decline in sexism( internal factor)- girls are no longer stereotyped in books and programmes so
there is no negative image for girls to compare to.
Explanations of boys underachievement.
Poorer employment prospects- there has been a decline in manual jobs. This decline decrease
opportunities for the underachieving working class males. This lack of opportunities makes them
question why they need to achieve is they cant get a job anyway.…read more