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Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender. Until the 1980’s all the sociological research on gender in education was looking at reasons for girls’ poor achievement when compared to boys. How times have changed! 3 main reasons were offered for this

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Differential educational achievement 2 gender
Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

  • Until the 1980’s all the sociological research on gender in education was looking at reasons for girls’ poor achievement when compared to boys. How times have changed! 3 main reasons were offered for this

  • Biological Explanations: These suggested that girls matured at an earlier age and did well early on in schooling, but boys caught up and over took them by 16. In fact the pass rates for the 11+ exam were higher for girls than boys to allow for this anomaly.

  • Socialisation; Sharpe (1976) and McRobbie (1978) found that girls were influenced by their families, friends and media to grow up to want love, marriage and families more than careers.

  • Classroom Behaviour: Stanworth (1976) and Spender (1983) believed that girls received less attention from their teachers and thus were often seen as ‘invisible’ in the classroom in a male dominated (patriarchal) environment.

  • So what has changed? Well at the beginning of the 21st century

    • Females do better at all levels in National Curriculum tests

    • Females do better in most GCSE subjects

    • Females are more likely to pass their A levels

    • Females are more likely to go to university


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Inside Schools

Leisure

Boys and girls ‘do’ leisure differently.

  • Observe any school at break and lunch time and you will see groups of boys playing football.

  • Boys are more likely to interact by ‘doing’ where as girls are more likely to be found chatting to one another.

  • This helps girls to develop their language and communication skills that are useful for most subjects.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Inside Schools

Peer Group And Behaviour

  • Boys are seen as more likely than girls to develop ‘anti-school subcultures’

  • As Status and ‘street cred’ can be gained from not working.

  • Things like reading re regarded as unmasculine.

  • Also teachers have lower expectations of boys and let them get away with more.

  • More boys are excluded from school than girls.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

  • Social Policy Changes

  • Many sociologists and others have argued that education has become more ‘feminised’.

  • Initiatives such as GIST (Girls Into Science and Technology) and WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) have encouraged girls.

  • The National Curriculum and emphasis on coursework has arguably suited girls more than boys as they are better organised and work more consistently.

  • Less emphasis on competition in schools has also affected the progress on boys who thrive on this.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

  • Also affecting a wide range of outside school factors this act has had a major impact on teachers attitudes to girls and the resources they use, text books etc which feature more positive female role models than they did in the past.

  • Kelly (1985) found that text books and courses for teachers had been modified to ensure that they did not use gender biased language.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Outside Schools

  • Sue Sharpe 1976, 1994

  • Sharpe's study of a London comprehensive school in the 1970’s found working class girls ranking marriage, families and careers in that order of importance to them.

  • On her return to the same school in the mid 1990’s the working class girls had placed career as the top priority.

  • Girls see the positive role models around them and are encouraged to do well at school and achieve independent finance for themselves


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Outside Schools

The Feminist Movement

Since the 1970’s female expectations have been changed and more people have become aware of the problems of patriarchy, negative stereotyping and sex discrimination.

  • The Equal Pay Act (1971) makes it illegal to pay men and women different money for the same work.

  • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 means that employers can not discriminate on the basis of gender.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Outside Schools

Mac an Ghaill 1994

  • Mac an Ghaill argues that the collapse of many working class jobs has led to a status frustration for many WC males.

  • The ‘breadwinner’ role has declined and males suffer a ‘crisis of masculinity’.

  • This all curbs WC boys ambition and they see education as a waste of time.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Outside Schools

  • Single Parents

  • New Right theorists have pointed to the increase in single parents of which the majority are female headed.

  • This leads to the lack of male role models for boys and has been cited as an explanation for bad behaviour and under achievement.

  • Functionalists like Fletcher & Parsons argue that people place a higher value on marriage now than in the past.

  • People expect more from a partner and will no longer put up with second-rate relationships.

  • Gibson 1994 says that the modern emphasis on individual achievement and consumerism has extended to relationships.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Why Do Boys Fall Behind?

Mitsos and Browne 1998

  • Mitsos and Browne have identified 4 key areas to explain male under achievement at school.

  • 1. Teachers: evidence shows that teachers are not as strict with boys as they are with girls.

  • They are more likely to extend deadlines for work, to have lower expectations of them and to be more tolerant of their unruly behaviour.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

  • 2. Disruption: Boys are generally more disruptive than girls in the classroom. 4 out of 5 exclusions from school are boys.

  • Boys lose more learning time than girls because of this behaviour.

  • 3. Status: a certain ‘street cred’ can be gained by not working, something Willis found in his study of working class boys in the 1970’s.

  • 4. The changing job market: Decline in traditional male jobs has led to a lack of motivation amongst working class boys.

  • They see education as futile.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Why Do Boys Fall Behind?

Francis 2001

  • Finds working class boys are more likely than girls to be worried about being labelled a swot

  • The ‘laddish subculture’ sees it as a threat to masculinity

  • This was found in Willis key study in the 1970’s but Francis believes it has become more widespread today!

  • This is a specific response by wc boys to ‘construct themselves as non feminine’


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Why Do Boys Fall Behind?

Clark 1996

  • Jane Clark has argued that males have become bombarded with images of macho, anti-authority types outside the classroom.

  • This ‘laddism’ displayed in the media offers negative role models to follow which are in opposition to the school ethos of working hard to gain good exam results.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Subject Choice

The National Curriculum has limited the different subject choices, but marked gender preferences have remained

Stables and Wikeley 1996

  • Where there is choice girls and boys choose differently

  • Although all have to do D and T at GCSE girls are more likely to choose Food Technology and boys choose Graphics and Resistant Materials


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Subject Choice

A and AS Levels

There is more choice post 16 and differences are more marked

Diagram shows 2007 stats


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

  • Early Socialisation

  • Fiona Norman 1988

  • Boys and girls from an early age:-

  • Dress differently

  • Play with different toys

  • Have different behavioural expectations from parents and others


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

Early Socialisation

Patricia Murphy & Jannette Elwood 1988

  • Say such differences are further encouraged at school and lead to different subject choices

  • Boys read information texts more – hence the links to Science

  • Girls read more stories – hence links to English


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

Gender Domains

Gender Domains are tasks and activities that boys and girls see as male or female ‘territory’ and therefore as relevant to themselves.

  • Eg males fix cars but don’t look after babies

  • Naima Browne & Carol Ross 1991

  • Children are more confident when they do tasks they see as part of their ‘gender domain’

  • Eg maths tasks about cars are more comfortable for boys

  • Maths tasks about food and nutrition are more comfortable for girls


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

Gender Domains

Gender Domains are tasks and activities that boys and girls see as male or female ‘territory’ and therefore as relevant to themselves.

  • Eg males fix cars but don’t look after babies

  • Naima Browne & Carol Ross

  • Children are more confident when they do tasks they see as part of their ‘gender domain’

  • Eg maths tasks about cars are more comfortable for boys

  • Maths tasks about food and nutrition are more comfortable for girls


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

Gender Domains

Patricia Murphy1991

  • Set 11-14 yr olds a task of designing ships and cars

  • Boys designed battleships and powerboats – girls designed cruise ships

  • Boys designed sports cars and army vehicles – girls designed family cars

  • Boys seemed to focus on how things are made and work – hence their interest in science

  • Girls focus more on the people using them and therefore are more interested in humanities and arts.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

  • Gendered Subject Images

    Alison Kelly 1987

  • Science is seen as ‘male’ because

  • Most science teachers are male (apart from Biology)

  • Examples in texts etc are drawn from ‘boys worlds’

  • Boys monopolise the apparatus in practical sessions


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

  • Gendered Subject Images

    Anne Colley 1998

  • IT is seen as a male area

  • It involves using machines

  • More individual work rather than group work which suits boys more

  • Interestingly Colley says that Music has gone from a female orientated subject to a male one with the introduction of technology in this area.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

Gendered Subject Images

Diana Leotard 2006

  • Found that subject stereotypes were less apparent in single sex schools

  • With girls taking more Science subjects and boys taking more English and Arts subjects


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

  • Peer Pressure

  • Subject choice is affected by others around you at school


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

  • Carrie Paetcher 1998

  • Looked at PE

  • Girls often are pressured into not taking the subject at exam level by others peers who see it as the ‘male’ domain.

  • Labels of ‘butch’ and lesbian’ are sometimes applied to girls in this area

  • The lack of peer pressure from the opposite sex can help to explain the choices of less traditional subjects in single sex schools.


Differential Educational Achievement 2.Gender

Explanations For Differences In Subject Choice

Gendered Career Opportunities

  • Despite the changes in attitude and legislation over the last 50 years there are still gendered occupational categories.

  • Over half of female employment falls into 4 categories

  • Clerical, Secretarial, Personal Services, Cleaning Services

  • Vocational courses as a result are much more gender orientated

  • e.g. Nursery Nurse courses are overwhelmingly female

  • Mechanics courses are overwhelmingly male!


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