Gender trends in attainment
Today, girls are continuing to outperform boys at all levels of education in the UK from Key stage 1 to higher education.
- In 2005/06, 64% of girls in their last yr of compulsory ed. achieved 5 or more GCSE grades A*-C and only 54% of boys achieved the same. (therefore it is clear to state that on average 10% more girls do better than boys in educational achievement.
- Figs. from UCAS show that autumn 2006, more women than men were entering undergraduate courses as 210,334 out of 390,890 (53.8%) were women.
Sociogical explanations of gendered attainment:
- Feminists believe that the reason girls outperform boys is a vindication of the success of the feminist movement
- Despite such movements, women still earn 80% of what men are earning and the glass ceiling still exists
- In ed. it is clear that there is a divide of boys and girls subjects and girls subjects have lower status
- The poor attainment of boys is relative and boys are doing better than they were and both genders exam results have improved, girls has been faster though.
The reasons for girls outperforming in education
- Girls attainment has been dramatic and clearly the result of social process rather than biological change and supports the view that biology is not destiny ( feminist view). Here are the sociological reasons for the change:
- Girls educational success is the result of a cultural change in their attitudes. Sue Sharpe's research in 1976 and then again in 1994 have shown girls priorities have changed- from love, marriage and children to developing a career and supporting themselves financially. Also the rise in divorce rate plus their experiences of marital conflict show girls placed less trust of the males as a provider.
- A general shift in the economy towards service- sector jobs which are seen as requiring a good skill of communication which women are seen to be better at- this links to the 'bedroom culture' theory that girls arem ore likely to invite friends round and chat which results in encouragement of verbal skills which boys don't have the opportunity to develop.
- The changed attitudes are part of a cultural shift which liberal feminists would argue has led to a decline in patriarchal attitudes.
- Gray & McLellan's survey of 1310 year 5 pupils in 2006 found that at this early age pupils had gendered responses to school e.g. girls more enthusiastic.
Sociogical explanations for gendered attainment-co
However it is ont only changes within society as a whole that have raised female achievement, schools have also changed and are no longer patriarchal instiutions