Gender and Educational Acheivement: girls
Historically, females were doing less well than boys but in recent years, they have been achieving better results in both GCSEs and A Levels compared to boys.
In 2007, it was found that 66% of girls achieved 5 or more GCSE grades at A*-C compared to just 57% of boys.
Girls: External Factors L F F B
- Labour Market: Wilkinson used the term 'genderquake' to describe the vast number of women under the age of 35 towards the labour market. They have recognised that there are now MORE jobs available for them and many women have taken up jobs such as nursing, teachers, etc so that they can practise their interpersonal skills.
More job opportunities has positively benefitted school girls by giving them a confidence boost and something to work towards
- Female Expectations Changing: Sue Sharp argues that women's expectations have changed and they value education more today. In the 1970s, women had prioritised children, family life and love, but today they see education, career and ability to support themselves on their own as more important- therefore they work hard at school
More external factors: Girls
- Feminization of the Economy: Women are given more equal rights in the public and private sphere. Traditionally, women were encourgaed to be housewives and remain within a nuclear family. However, the introduction to the EQUAL PAY ACTS in the 1970s and SEX DISCRIMINATION ACT has given women more EQUALITY and FREEDOM.
This has benefitted school girls because they have goals they want to achieve and more opportunity to be anything they want
- Behaviour: Sharp argued that women are more motivated than they were 20 years agol. They wish to do better at school be showing determination, self-discipline and hard work.
They also are more likely to borrow library books up to 3 times MORE than boys do. This kind of determination means that they do BETTER at school.
Internal Factors: Girls
There are also internal factors which have POSITIVELY BENEFITTED girls at school.....N E T T
- National Curriculum: The introduction to the national curriculum has caused girls to achieve better. Pirie believed that the into to coursework has benefitted girls. They are better ar re-drafting their coursework, priducing better quality work and handing it in ON TIME.
Similalry, Mitsos and Brown argues that girls do better at coursework because they are more organised than biys. They spend more time on its presentation, etc
- Equal Opportunities: Feminists argued that in thr 1980s, they helped to increase awareness of possible gender bias againts girls in the educational system and so schools have created more EQUALITY INSIDE SCHOOLS.
For example, policies such as GIST and WISE have encouraged girls to pursue careers in non-tradional areas.
Also, the National Curriculum has meant that girls and boys do the SAME compulsary subjects and girls will not be laughed at for chosing tradionally male subjects.
Jo Boaler argues that equal opportunities at school are the most important factor that has AIDED the improvement of girls- schools are MERITOCRATIC
Continued: Girls Internal factors
- Teaching is feminized: Mitsos and Brown argue that teaching is becoming female dominated and this has positively impacted girls.
There are now MORE FEMALE TEACHERS
This provides girls with a POSITIVE ROLE MODEL and something to aspire to. They see that they can also work hard and have a well-paid job and not be stuck within nuclear family. This motivates them to be hard-working and achieve better
- Teacher- pupil relationship: Swann and Graddol argue that girls are willing to speak up and be more confident. They ask teachers more qustions and seek help from them more than boys do. This means that they can clear up more misunderstandings and get better results than boys do.
External Factors: Boys
There are external factors which can explain why boys do worse than girls... L O B
- Labour Market Changes: although femlaes have positively benefited from the changes in the albour market, boys on the other hand have been DISADVANTAGED.
Mac and Ghaill argue that men today have been experiencing a CRISIS OF MASCULINITY. This is because there has been a decline in the jobs performed by males. This means that males are no longer the breadwinners because many of them get less pay than women and some have become unemployed.
This has particulalry reduced the confidence levels of working-class boys where they do not see qualifications as important, they mess about and underachieve.
- Overconfidence: Francis argues that the overconfidence of boys may blind them to what is actually required for them to do well at school. Boys usually blame their failures on bad luck or bad teaaching rather than on themselves. Since girls are more self-critical, they study more to avoid failure
- Behaviour: Sharp argues that boys are less motivated to do well than girls. They are LESS hard working, less disciplined and are more likely to produce poor quality assignments and turn it up late. They also borrow 3 times LESS books from library than girls do
Internal factors: boys
There are internal factors which explain why boys underachieve.... N T T L
- National Curriculum: Pirie argues that boys are less likely to benefitt from the introduction to coursework because they are less dedicated to re-drafting it or turning it up on time.
- Teacher-pupil relationship: Mitsos and Brown argue that teachers expect boys to be MORE distruptive, late, lazy, turn up assignmenets later and produce poor quality work. This means that teachers focus their attention less on boys and more on girls, who show more commitment and dedication to learn. To improve the achievment of boys, teachers need to discipline them and be more strict towards them whilst preserving their masculinity
- Teaching is feminized: There are MORE FEMALE TEACHERS. This has not benefitted boys because they do not have a positive role model and something to aspire to.
- Laddish behaviour: Jackson argued that boys show laddish behaviour where they think that academic work is very feminime and therefore 'uncool'.
They therefore want to appeal MASCULINE infornt of their peers by messing about, not listening to teachers, disrupting, etc.
Since girls did not display this, they achieved better.
Evaluation of gender and achievement
However, NOT ALL boys underachieve and Francis and Skelton have argued that this is just a 'moral panic'. They argue that many boys still do very well at school but just not at the same level of pace as girls do. This shows that the underacheivemnt of boys is OVER EXAGGERATED
Feminists such as Olster have argued that the major concern of the underachievment of boys has resulted in teachers neglecting the large number of girls, escpecially working-class, that have been underachieving. This is unfair because teachers are not giving each students the same level of attention
It is also important to conider other non-gender variables and how they can also affect achievement levels...
- Social Class: Not all girls achieve great results and not all boys underachieve-linked to clas.
Middle class boys and girls did well: they had money, cultural capital and social contacts to get into the best schools and get great qualifiactions
- Ethnicity: African Caribbean girls and boys did less well becasue they lived in poverty and were materially deprived. However, Chinese and Indian did well.