Monday, November 3, 2008

Gender and Achievement: The Differences in Boys’ and Girls Academic Achievement (Review)

1. Introduction.
Differences in educational achievement in gender terms are more difficult to pin-point than those related to social class. There is, for example, little clear evidence to show that females, as a whole, underachieve intellectually at school (in terms of GCSE overall, for example, the levels of achievement between males and females are roughly equal, although in recent years there is evidence to suggest that females are achieving more than males across an increasing range of subjects).
In addition, the evidence since the 2nd World War suggests that female educational achievement at the secondary level has increased markedly in comparison to male achievement. At the primary level male and female levels of achievement are, in general, roughly equal, although males tend to score more highly on some forms of testing.
The gap between girls’ and boys’ achievement at GCSE has been roughly the same for several years. There are statistical difficulties in analyzing the o- level and CSE results of the 1980s, but they appear to show that girls were already improving their performance before GCSE introduced. The changes to GCSE affecting the 1994 results, including the reduction of the course work element, did not immediately reduce the superiority of the girls’ performance.

2. A few Figures to Illustrate the Differences in Boys’ and Girls’ Academic
There are three indicators are used to concretely illustrate boys’ lower achievement in elementary and secondary school: academic delay, success in learning the language of instruction and graduation rates.

2.1. Academic Delay
It has been noted that in general education, both in elementary and secondary school, boys are more likely to repeat a grade than girls. This gap is particularly significant in the first year of secondary school.
Based on Education Indicator, 2003 edition, MEQ (2003), it reports that in 2001-2002 in the school system as a whole, 3.8% of boys and 2.3% of girls repeated a grade in elementary school. The gender difference is therefore 1.5 percentage points. For secondary 1 student, the difference rises to 5.6% percentage points, since the proportion of repeaters is 15.7% for boys and 10.1% for girls.
The cumulative effect of grade repetition is to delay students in their schooling. At the end of the normal six-year period of elementary school, children should be no more than 12 years old. A student aged 13 or over has therefore fallen behind. The cumulative effect of grade repetition is reflected in the student’s age.
Students who are repeaters in elementary school are at much higher risk of dropping out that other students, and this risk increases considerably with the numbers of years of academic delay.

2.2. Success in Learning the Language of Instruction
Grade repetition and academic delay, more prevalent among boys than girls; appear to be mostly related to gender differences in learning the language of instruction since no significant performance gap has been noted for the other subjects.
Based on uniform examinations results that set by MEQ, girls’ result in the language of instruction are higher than those of boys. In Canada, the 2002 School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP) assessment also confirms that girls’ written language skills are much stronger than boys in the country as whole. Beside, at the international level, a recent study of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), report that girls get higher result in reading literacy than the boys.
The report on Australian national literacy testing in 1996 (DETYA 1999a,b), identified the fact that only percent of male students were able to meet the reading benchmarks set Year 3, compare with 77percent of female students. Like wise, 65 percent of all male students tested scored at or above the writing benchmark for Year 3, while 81 percent of female students score above a higher for the same benchmark. According to this report, the gap between girls and boys performance repeats it self for the Year 5 test result conducted in the same year: 65 percent of the boys tested and 76 percent of the girls tested scored at or above the reading benchmark in Yea 5; 59 percent of the boys reached or went beyond the benchmark set for writing in Year 5, whereas 74 percent of girls met or exceeded this benchmark (DETYA 1999a,b).
Similarly, the combined results of the 1999 national testing in United Kingdom for reading, writing and spelling (the Key stage test) for 7,11,and 14 years old students indicate that 77 percent of boys reached level 2 and above in reading, while 86 percent of girls tested reached the same level and above. Similarly with writing, 78 percent of boys tested and 87 percent of girls tested performed at level 2 or above. In terms of spelling performance on the national test, only 65 percent of boys tested at level 2 or above, whereas 76 percent of the girls tested at level 2 and above (DFEE 1999a)
The test scores from the National Assessment of educational progress (NAEP) in 1996 have been analyzed according to male and female performance in reading, writing, and spelling tests and indicate what many see as dangerous gaps between male and female performance in relations to sets of literacy skills. Besides, Helbers (2000) notes that there were significantly more boys than girls located within the low scoring category.
Concerns about the lower literacy levels of boys are deepened when they are read a long side reports that identify less than desirable sets of experiences for boys during the course of their education. Researchers in a range of countries an across a variety of schooling sector have presented evidence to argue that boys are:
o Over-represented in remedial educational classes and more likely to be held back a grade.
o Most likely to demonstrate behavior problems
o More likely to be suspended
o The majority of counseling referrals
o Three time as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
Perhaps not surprisingly, there are also gendered patterns relating to subject choice, educational progress and school completion. At school boys are more likely than girls to enroll in high-level math and science courses, and less likely to undertake studies connected to English and the humanities. This pattern continues into universities, with male students continuing to choose science, technology and engineering over humanities or education.

2.3. Graduation Rates
Based on the statistics for 1976 to 2001 show that the proportion of girls graduating from the school system with a bachelor’s degree jumped from 13% to 31%, while for boys it increased from 17% to 21%. It shows us that the graduation rates of girls are higher than boys. Most of boys are drop out before the end of semester ( MEQ : 2003)

3. Boys Failure factors
There are some various factors that make certain boys more likely to fail. They
are; the influence of socio economic background, different attitudes and
Behaviors with respect to school and learning, the effect of stereotypes and the
Influence of peer groups.

3.1. The Influence of Socio economic Background
Among the various factors that influence this process, social background is the one that has the most impact on students. In this regard, it is the bets predictor of academic outcomes. Over the past several decades, studies carried out in a number of countries show that students from disadvantaged environment are the most likely to experience difficulties in school, to repeat a grade, to be delayed in their schooling or to drop out. In general, research data shows that the performance gap between boys and girls tends to narrow when students are form advantaged environments and to widen the further down students are on the socioeconomic scale.
Social background appears to have more impact on boys’ academic achievement than on that girl, and this can be observed in a number of countries. Collins (2004) said that socio economic status makes a larger difference than gender to Year 12 performance even where girls generally do better than boys. And it seems that socio economic status appears to be the most salient factor in boys’ (and girls’) literacy performance in schools (ERO, 1999). Similar to Buckingham (1999), he mentions that the higher the socioeconomic status of parents on these measures (of household income, family structure, parental education) the higher is literacy and English performance of their children, both boys and girls, on average.

3.2. Different Attitudes and Behaviors with respect to school and learning
Boys and girls have different attitudes toward school and academic success. Studies clearly show that girls are more interested in and open to school life than boys (Quebec, 1999)
1. Effort
Success in learning the language of instruction is an important indicator of boys’ academic difficulties. It has been observed that girls, generally make more of an effort to learn even if they are not interested in a subject than boys do. it appears that many boys have difficulty making an effort if their interest level is low and the benefits are not immediate.
Boys and girl do not have the same idea of what leads to success:
• boys place much more importance on intelligence than on effort.
• Boys believe that being intelligent relieves them of having to make an effort.
• While girls perceive intelligence as an indispensable ingredient of success.
• Girls perceive academic success as the gateway to a more satisfying
• personal and professional life,
• While boys rely more on beliefs concerning the opportunities they will have
• simply because they are male, an attitude which lead them to underachieve in school
• Girls also devote more time to homework and studying.
• more boys than girls experience difficulty in learning the language instructions.
• more boys than girls lack commitment to and interest in their schoolwork, which mean that boys are more likely to reaped a grade and its affect students’ self-esteem, feeling of competence and sense of belonging and forth dropping out of school

2. Better results in reading literacy
In all OECD countries ( Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), girls are significantly a head of boys with respect to reading literacy. There is no marked difference between boys and girls with respect to their results in other academic subjects. However the ability to read, understand and use information is at the heart of cognitive development and personal fulfillment. Reading literacy is the cornerstone for learning in all academic disciplines. This is why difficulties experienced in learning the language of instruction lead to identification of learning difficulties and are one of the main reasons school authorities use to justify their decision to have a student repeat a grade.
3. Different learning strategies.
Analysis of the differences in girls’ and boys’ learning strategies shows that boys generally use different strategies than girls, particularly with respect to metacognitive strategies.
• Boys prefer to focus on comprehension and establishing links between concepts. Besides, boys use more competitive approaches.
• Girls tend to use memorization techniques and control strategies such as Planning, organization and structuring. Girls also more likely to adopt a personal learning assessment approach.

4. A different perception of abilities.
Most girls have more self-esteem when it comes to their education. And we know that young people’s perception of their skills is an important factor in their academic performance. More girls than boys mention that they have academic aptitudes or skills and talents of an intellectual nature. This observation was confirmed by means of a 1995 survey of students in Secondary Cycle Two in general Education.
The programme for International Students Assessments (PISA) has shown that there is a relationship between students’ perception of their own performance in reading literacy. In all OECD countries, the most striking differences in performance have been noted between students who are certain they can meet learning challenges, even in the face of difficulty, and those who are uncertain of being able to do so (OECD: 2003). There also seems to be a significant negative gap between some students’ actual potential and their assessment of this potential.

5. The effect of stereotypes.
Numerous studies carried out in 1993-1994 and in 1996 by the Centre de recherchĂ© et d’intervention sur la reussite scolaire (CRIRES) show that there is a strong correlation between identification with the sexual stereotypes and academic failure for both boys and girls. Conversely, dispensing with these stereotypes leads to better performance.
A larger proportion of girls than boys succeed in freeing themselves of these stereotypes, and this greeter freedom is more apparent in advantaged environments than in more modest one (Jean: 2003). Boys who wish to compensate for their academic difficulties tend to take refuge in stereotypical masculine behaviors that distance them from school life.

3. The Influence of Peer Group
The peer group is a factor that influences many boys to adopt a negative attitude toward school. Boys who show disruptive behavior and who protest against school and schoolwork are perceived as “cool”, giving them a certain power which they use to harass docile students who do well in school. Richard (2003) says that it is not “cool” to be perceived by one’s peers as someone who works hard. In many secondary schools, good marks are for “sucks”, especially if this involves studying and completing school assignments. Excerpt from a speech given by Jean (2003) explained that only the myth of getting good marks without having to study makes one popular because it is considered “brilliant” by one’s peers.
Negative peer pressure can cause many boys to maintain and develop negative attitudes and behaviors toward school and school work. While boys who have positive attitudes toward school are often the targets of such comments.
Peer pressure can be very strong and help limit possibilities for many boys by influencing the courses they choose, their behavior and their academic performance. Schools that are unsuccessful in creating a favorable atmosphere and positive social pressure among their students will have a great deal of difficulty mobilizing male students who are at risk of failure from the outset. If the school enters into competition with the peer group by promoting academic success, it is far from certain that it will win the contest (B. Lingard et al : 2002)

4. Conclusion
Based on the research result presented here, it can conclude that achievement between boys and girls are different in money aspect. Boys’ achievement were low than girls. In this case boys were majority faced problem in academic delay. Secondly, in learning language boys’ achievement were low than girls. Beside that the graduation rates majoring handled by girls than boys.
Research data also show that socioeconomic background is an important risk factor, especially for boys. Academic difficulties affect boys from disadvantaged environments in particular.
It also can conclude that some behaviors or attitudes toward school and studies might have an influence on academic performance. Behaviors and attitudes that are more conducive to students’ academic success and their staying in school appear to be more prevalent among girls than boys.
Peer pressure may also be an important factor to take into consideration. It appears that schools could use this factor to create pressure that is conducive to success. Certain students seek to impose on others their negative image of academic success by often relying on traditional social expectations of their own gender.

Boys’ Academic Achievement: Putting the Findings into Perspective. Summary
Report. 2004. www. menu- rapports.htm
Becky. F. 2000. Boys, Girls, and Achievement : Addressing the Classroom
Issues. London, New York.
Lingard . B. et all. 2002. Addressing the Educational Needs of Boys. University
of Queensland, University f Murdoch, university of Melbourne. Australia
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Education at a
Glance. OECD Indicators-2003 Edition, 148.
Ofsted. 2003. Boys’ Achievement in Secondary Schools. www. UK
Quebec. 1999. Improving Boys’ and Girls’ Academic Achievement .
Gouvernement du Quebec.

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