Internal factors & gender differences in achievement


Equal opp policies

  • Due to Feminism, ed system sensitive to gender stereotyping & offers girls + boys equal opps
  • Policies like GIST (girls into science + technology) & WISE (women into science + engineering) encourage girls to persue careers in non-trad areas - female scientists have gone into schools as role models & non sexist career advice provided
  • National Curriculum 1988 - study same subjects e.g. everyone has to study science
  • Barriers to fair ed have been removed so girls generally work harder than boys so achieve more
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Positive role models in school

  • More female teachers = role models of girls showing them they can achieve their goals & work in important high positions
  • Primary schools have become 'feminised' = impacts how each gender sees schooling 
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GCSE & Coursework

  • Gender gap in achievement sharply increased in 1988 - when GCSE's were introduced & coursework
  • Girls thought to be better at coursework as they: spend more time; take more care with presentation; better at meeting deadlines & bring right material to lessons
  • Oral exams aid girls as they have better language skills, mature earlier & have better concentration skills
  • These skills come from early socialisation when girls are encouraged to be more neat, tidy & patient
  • However Elwood argues that when you analyse the weighting of coursework & written exams, exams have more influence on final grades
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Teacher attention

  • Spender - teachers spent more time interacting w/ boys - mostly because they received more reprimands, disciplined more harshly & felt picked on by teachers, who tended to have lower expectations of them
  • Swann & Graddol - boys generally more boisterous & attract teacher's attention but the way teachers interacted w/ girls was more positive
  • Swann - gender diffs in communication styles - boys dominate in whole class discussion whilst girls prefer pair-work & group-work & are better listening & cooperating - may create self-fulfilling prophecy where positive communication w/ girls promote their self-esteem & raise achievement levels
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Challenging stereotypes in the curriculum

  • Removal of gender stereotypes from textbooks & reading schemes has removed barrier of girl's achievements
  • Weiner - since 80s, teachers have challenged sexist stereotypes - raising girls achievement by presenting them w/ more positive images of what women can do
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Selection & league tables

  • Due to marketisation, schools see girls as better recruits as they achieve better exam results - whereas low achieving boys are not so create self-fulfilling prophecy - girls more likely to be recruited by good schools where they do well
  • Boys less attractive to schools as they're more likely to be seen as a 'liability', giving the school a 'rough, tough' image & becoming obstacles to schools improving their league table positon
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