Gender and educational achievement
Download
1 / 38

Gender and Educational Achievement - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 411 Views
  • Updated On :

Gender and Educational Achievement. In this Presentation I shall distinguish broadly between two broad time periods: the 1950s to the late1980s and the late 1980s to the present day. If you would like to switch directly to the slides on the late 1980s to the present day click here.

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Gender and Educational Achievement' - ula


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Gender and educational achievement l.jpg
Gender and Educational Achievement

  • In this Presentation I shall distinguish broadly between two broad time periods: the 1950s to the late1980s and the late 1980s to the present day.

  • If you would like to switch directly to the slides on the late 1980s to the present day click here.

  • I have made some links to my “teaching notes” on this topic which you can consult for further details and of course you will also wish to consult your textbooks as appropriate.

  • Click here for more information on the Sociology of Education.


The data to be explained the 1950s to the late 1980s l.jpg
The Data to be explained; the 1950s to the late 1980s

  • There was clear evidence that in the era of the 11+ pass marks were set higher for girls than for boys so as to prevent girls from taking a disproportionate share of Grammar School places.

  • From the early 1950s until the late 1960s girls were less likely than boys to be entered for GCE Ordinary Level examinations. In any case in the 1950s and early 1960s many pupils left school at age 15 having taken no official national examinations.

  • The candidate pass rate in GCE O Level examinations was higher for girls than for boys from the early 50s to the late 1960s so that despite the higher entry rates for males the percentages of male and female school leavers actually passing 5 or more GCE O levels were fairly similar although females did usually outperform males by 1-2% each year.

  • This overall statistic masked the facts that girls outperformed boys by considerable margins in Arts and Humanities subjects and that boys usually outperformed girls but by smaller margins in Mathematics and Science subjects.


The data to be explained the 1950s to the late 1980s3 l.jpg
The Data to be explained: the 1950s to the late 1980s

  • However females were disadvantaged to some extent by their subject choices for 16+ courses. They were less likely than males to opt for scientific subjects [other than Biology] and also less likely to opt for stereotypical “male” subjects such as technical drawing, woodwork and metal work.

  • By the late 1970s boys and girls were equally likely to be entered for GCE O levels. The percentages of both male and female school leavers passing 5 or more GCE O Levels rose slowly but steadily from the 1950s to the 1980s and girls remained slightly more likely than boys to pass 5 or more GCE O Levels

  • However female students were less likely than males to enrol on Advanced Level courses, less likely to achieve two or more Advanced Level passes and less likely to participate in Higher Education from the 1950s to the 1980s.

  • Gender differences in subject choice were if anything greater at Advanced Level and Degree level than at 16+ level.


Explanations for relative female educational under achievement from the 1950s to the 1980s l.jpg
Explanations for relative female educational under-achievement from the 1950s to the 1980s

  • Relative female educational under- achievement has been explained in terms of several types of theory.

  • IQ theories in which it is claimed that females are innately less intelligent than males.

  • Gender differences in socialisation throughout society as in the studies of , for example, Fiona Norman and Sue Sharpe.

  • Factors operative in the schools themselves as in the theories of Michelle Stanworth, Dale Spender and others.

  • The following slides 5-11 summarise the findings of some relevant theories and studies .


Explaining relative female educational under achievement gender differences in iq l.jpg
Explaining relative female educational under-achievement: gender differences in IQ

  • Throughout history, it has been claimed that women are less intelligent than men .It has variously been argued that women have smaller brains than men, that they are emotional rather than rational and that the different shapes of male and female brains give men advantages in mathematical and technical subjects.

  • However it should be noted that relative to average body weight, female brains are larger than male brains and also, that the tables have been turned to some extent by research suggesting that female brain structures give them innately superior linguistic abilities.

  • An important recent DCFS publication suggests that gender differences in educational achievement cannot be explained in terms of gender differences in measured intelligence.

  • In any case since females now out-perform males at all levels of the UK it seems foolish to suggest that females are innately less intelligent .However many sociologists would also deny that females are innately more intelligent than males.

  • There are many limitations to IQ tests as methods of accurately measuring intelligence. Slides on the nature and limitations of IQ theory can be found in the presentations on Class and educational achievement and “Race”, Ethnicity and educational achievement. For convenience I repeat them here.


Key elements of iq theory l.jpg
Key Elements of IQ Theory gender differences in IQ

  • The IQ key theorists, Jensen, Herrnstein, Eysenck, Burt and Murray , focussed mainly on relationships between IQ and social class and/or between IQ and “race”/ ethnicity rather than between IQ and gender.

  • The key assumptions of IQ theory are listed below.

  • Intelligence can be defined clearly

  • It can be measured accurately via IQ tests

  • Data have sometimes been used to suggest that women have lower IQs than men.

  • However in the era of the 11+ girls were far more successful than boys in this examination and the girl’s examination marks were adjusted downwards to prevent girls from taking a much larger share on the available grammar school places.

  • This policy was justified at the time on the grounds that girls matured more quickly and that boys would catch up quickly once they matured. However, many girls were actually denied the grammar school places which their examination marks suggested they had fairly earned.


Some criticisms of iq theory l.jpg
Some criticisms of IQ Theory gender differences in IQ

  • Intelligence cannot be defined clearly or accurately measured by IQ tests.

  • IQ tests may be culturally biased

  • Some students may not be at their best when they take the tests

  • Others may not take the tests seriously

  • Student IQ test scores can improve with practice, suggesting that they do not measure fundamental intelligence

  • The relative importance of genetic and environmental factors in determining intelligence is unknown but critics of IQ theories claim that genetic factors are unlikely to be as significant as suggested by IQ theorists


Gender differences in socialisation l.jpg
Gender Differences In Socialisation gender differences in IQ

  • It has been suggested that in societies such as the UK the socialisation process as it operated at least up to the 1970s meant that many parents socialized their daughters to show dependence, obedience, conformity and domesticity whereas boys were encouraged to be dominant, competitive and self–reliant.

  • Also when young children saw their parents acting out traditional gender roles many would perceive these roles as natural and inevitable leading girls and boys to imagine their futures as fulltime housewives and mothers and as fulltime paid employees respectively.

  • In schools teachers praised girls for "feminine qualities" and boys for "masculine qualities"; boys and girls were encouraged to opt for traditional male and female subjects and then for traditional male and female careers.

  • Furthermore in certain sections of the mass media [and especially perhaps in teenage magazines] girls were encouraged to recognize the all importance of finding "Mr. Right" and settling down to a life of blissful domesticity in their traditional housewife-mother roles.


Gender differences in socialisation9 l.jpg
Gender differences in socialisation gender differences in IQ

  • Fiona Norman (1988) showed that pre school socialisation may be a factor in explaining subsequent female under achievement.

  • She emphasised that many parents would provide gender specific toys and encourage male and female children to adopt different leisure activities. Children would also be influenced by perceived differences in male and female roles within families. At this time these gender roles were still often relatively “traditional.”

  • Perhaps the best known study stressing the influence of gender differences in socialisation on subsequent educational achievement is “Just Like a Girl by Sue Sharpe.

  • She argued in the 1970s that teenage girls had been socialised to focus on the importance of romance followed by the housewife /mother role rather than on the importance of education followed by a career.

  • By the early 1990s, when she repeated the research, she found girls to be more concerned with their future career prospects. and her conclusion was supported in  a more recent [2000] study by Becky Francis.

  • Information on the Becky Francis study is provided later in the presentation.


Gender differences in socialisation10 l.jpg
Gender Differences in Socialisation gender differences in IQ

  • Remember that the socialisation process may be analysed from different sociological perspectives and different ideological points of view.

  • You should distinguish between Functionalist, Marxist, Feminist and Social Action sociological perspectives.

  • Remember also the several varieties of feminism each of which provide different approaches to the analysis of the socialisation process.

  • Also important are the approaches to socialisation of New Right theorists and Postmodernists.

  • Remember, for example, that Functionalists would support the socialisation of males and females into traditional so-called “instrumental and expressive gender roles, a view that feminists would reject.

  • More information on socialisation in general and gender differences in socialisation in particular will soon be provided elsewhere on the site.


Female relative educational under achievement school effects l.jpg
Female relative educational under-achievement: school effects

  • Studies focusing on the education system [for example in the work of  Lesley Best, Michelle Stanworth, B. Licht and C. Dweck and others] claimed that widely used reading schemes encouraged socialisation into traditional gender roles; that teachers gave less attention to girls; that teachers failed to rebuke boys who verbally abused girls; that boys monopolised science equipment which restricted girls' opportunities; that teachers had stereotypical expectations about girls' future career prospects  and that girls were lacking in confidence relative to boys. because of the ways in which they were treated in school.

  • It must be noted that these conclusions were all based upon small scale studies which  may, as a result not have been  representative. The studies are now rather dated but it is possible that female students still suffer some of these disadvantages but are improving more rapidly than boys despite this.

  • It is still worthwhile for you to consult your textbooks for further information on these studies.


The data to be explained from the late 1980s to the present day l.jpg
The Data to be explained: from the late 1980s to the present day.

  • The GCSE was introduced in 1988 and from then onwards the female- male gender difference in educational achievement at GCSE level widened as differences between the [ higher] female pass rates and the male pass rates in Arts and Humanities widened and females narrowed or sometimes reversed the traditional higher male pass rates in Mathematics and science subjects

  • It has been claimed that the relative improvement of female educational achievements can be explained partly by the nature of the new GCSE courses .This has been disputed, however, on the grounds that several factors have contributed to these trends.

  • By the late 1980s females were more likely than males to gain two or more Advanced Level passes and during the course of the 1990s they also became more likely to gain 3 or more A level passes.

  • Females also soon became more likely than males to gain A grades in almost all Advanced Level subjects Nevertheless gender differences in examination performance at Advanced level are smaller than at GCSE level.

  • Females are more likely than males to enrol on Undergraduate and Post Graduate courses.

  • Males are still marginally more likely than females to gain First Class degrees but females are significantly more likely than males to gain Upper Second degrees.

  • Nevertheless there are still some significant gender differences in subject choice at Advanced level and Degree level and these differences could potentially restrict women’s future employment prospects.


The data to be explained from the late 1980s to the present day13 l.jpg
The Data to be explained: from the late 1980s to the present day

  • It is in any case necessary to consider the relative sizes of gender, social class and ethnic differences in educational achievement and to consider the interconnected effects of gender, ethnicity and social class on educational achievement.

  • Gender differences in educational achievement are far smaller than social class differences in educational achievement. Students of both sexes who are eligible for free school meals are far less likely than students of both sexes ineligible to be successful at ll levels of the education system.

  • Some ethnic differences in educational achievement are also greater than gender differences in educational achievement.

  • Notice that females outperform males at GCSE level in all major ethnic groups and in all social classes. Data supporting these points can be found in my teaching notes on this topic


Recent data gcse examinations in 2007 2008 l.jpg
Recent data: GCSE examinations in 2007-2008 day

  • English , Mathematics and Sciences are compulsory GCSE subjects although not all students who enrol for these subjects will necessarily be entered for the GCSE examinations . Boys and girls are almost equally likely to be entered for these subject examinations although there are significant gender differences [in favour of boys] in entry rates for individual science subjects.

  • In summary boys are more likely than girls to attempt Single Sciences, Design and Technology [where there are also significant stereotypical gender differences in option choices], Information Technology, Business Studies, Geography  and PE.

  • In summary girls are more likely than boys  to attempt Home Economics, Social Studies, Art and Design, English Literature, Drama, Media/Film/TV Studies and RE.

  • The girls' A*-C pass rates exceeds that of boys  almost every subject. The only exceptions in 2007/2008 were Physics, Biological Sciences and P.E.


Recent data gcse examinations 2007 2008 2 l.jpg
Recent Data: GCSE Examinations 2007-2008 [2] day

  • Girls, even in the late 1960s were more likely than boys to gain 5 or more GCE Ordinary Level pass grades. From the 1960s to the 1980s the percentages of girls and boys gaining 5 or more GCE Ordinary Level pass grades gradually increased but the so-called "gender gap" in educational attainment increased especially once the GCSE was introduced primarily because girls have maintained their traditional higher attainment levels in Arts and Humanities subjects but also reduced [and in some years overturned] the traditional attainment gaps in favour of boys in Mathematics and Science subjects.

  • In 2007-2008 69.3% of girls and 60.1% of boys achieved 5 or more GCSE Grade A*-C passes; 51.3% of girls and 42.0% of boys achieved 5 or more GCSE Grade A*-C passes including English and Maths.

  • The gender difference in examination success varies considerably from subject to subject. For example girls in 2007-2008 girls outperformed boys by 14% in English, 16% in Design and Technology, 9% in Modern Foreign Languages, 17% in Art and Design and 12 % in English Literature but by only 1% in Mathematics, 2% in Core Sciences, 1% in Chemistry and 2% in Classical Studies.

  • Although the data are not presented here Girls are now more likely to gain A* and A grades in most but not all  GCSE subjects.


Recent data gcse and gce advanced level results 2010 l.jpg
Recent Data: GCSE dayand GCE Advanced Level Results 2010

  • Click here and here and here and follow the various links for data on the 2010 GCSE and GCE Advanced Level Results.


Recent data some useful links 1 l.jpg
Recent Data: some useful links [1] day

  • This slide has been revised in February 2012 to take account of more recent data

  • Click here for my document on Gender and Educational Achievement where recent data on Gender, Free School Meal Eligibility and GCSE Examination Attainment are available

  • There are significant gender differences in educational achievement between females eligible and ineligible for free school meals although it can also be shown that these differences are greater for white students than for students from other ethnic groups. Click here for my document on Ethnicity and Educational attainment for further information.

  • Data in the above mentioned documents are taken from the DFE and you may click here for the full  revised  DFE statistics relating to  2010/2011GCSEresults. The Statistical First Release provides very useful information and even more detail is provided in the accompanying EXCELTables. .

  • In each case it is vital to remember that social class differences in educational achievement and some ethnic differences in educational achievement are greater than gender differences in educational achievement


Recent data some useful links 2 l.jpg
Recent data: some useful links [2] day

  • This slide has been updated in February 2012

  • Click here for the BBC News coverage of the 2008 GCSE and Advanced Level examination results. Once you reach the BBC page follow the links on the left hand side of the page.

  • Click here for the BBC coverage of the 2010 GCSE results.

  • Click here for BBC coverage of the 2010 GCE Advanced Level Results

  • Click here BBC coverage of the 2011 GCE Advanced Level Results

  • Click here and here for GCSE results 2011 from the BBC.

  • Click here for my document [updated February 2012] containing further data on Gender and Educational Achievement including information on undergraduate and post graduate qualifications

  • Click here for my document on Gender and Educational Achievement and Subject Choice which contains several additional links.


Some useful links 3 new slide added august 2012 l.jpg
Some Useful Links 3: New Slide added August 2012 day

  • Click here and here for Guardian articles including numerical data and graphics on the 2012 Advanced Level Results

  • Click here and here for BBC articles on 2012 Advanced Level Results


Some useful links 4 a new slide added august 2012 l.jpg
Some Useful Links: 4 A New Slide added August 2012 day

  • In all of my documents on Gender and Educational Achievement I have concentrated only on educational achievement at GCSE level and beyond.

  • However students may also use Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 data to assess whether and to what extent gender differences in educational achievement are apparent at an early age.

  • Use the following links to access this data

  • Recent Key Stage One Results

  • Recent Key Stage Two Results

  • Recent Key Stage Two and Three Results


Females relative educational improvement from the 1980s onwards l.jpg
Females’ relative educational improvement from the 1980s onwards

  • Click here and follow the subsequent relevant link for more detailed information from my teaching notes

  • In order to analyse the relative educational improvement from the 1980s onwards we must distinguish between factors accelerating the rate of female improvement and factors restricting the rate of male improvement.

  • Females’ and males’ educational achievements have improved but the rate of female improvement has been faster and this widened the female-male achievement gap especially at GCSE level.

  • Remember, however, that gender, social class and ethnicity are interconnected. Girls are more successful than boys in all ethnic groups but middle class boys are still more educationally successful than working class girls in all ethnic groups.

  • Gender differences in educational achievement are smaller than social class differences in educational achievement and some ethnic differences in educational achievement.


Possible factors explaining females increased educational achievements 1 l.jpg
Possible factors explaining females’ increased educational achievements [1]

  • As the relative rate of female educational improvement increased it came to be argued that this might be explained to some extent by biological factors.

  • Experiments investigating the brain activities of male and female babies suggested that differences in the structures of female and male brains respectively may mean that females have genetically determined linguistic advantages which would explain females especial facility with language based subjects.

  • It was also suggested that girls’ earlier maturity means that they can concentrate more effectively and are better organised especially in relation to course work.

  • This was considered to be a significant point because the relative improvement in female GCSE results was associated especially with the introduction of coursework-based assessments which had been absent from the GCE Ordinary Level examinations which the GCSE replaced.

  • However in relation to these theories it should be noted that male-female differences in Advanced level language examination results are small, that the relationships between physical and intellectual maturity are uncertain and that gender differences in examination results cannot be explained only by the presence or absence of coursework.


Possible factors explaining females increased educational achievements 2 l.jpg
Possible factors explaining females’ increased educational achievements [2]

  • It has been argued that in may families girls have traditionally been socialised to be relatively quiet, obedient and passive and to see their futures more in terms of marriage and motherhood rather than in terms of full time employment careers.

  • However more parents nowadays are anxious to encourage both their sons and their daughters with reading and other study activities thereby reducing any relative female disadvantage.

  • Furthermore since young children are most often taught to read by mainly female first school teachers and by their mothers this may have led children to believe that reading was primarily a “feminine” activity which may discourage some boys from engaging with it.

  • This may occur especially in cases where mainly fathers are especially keen to encourage their sons sporting and other more active “masculine “ leisure activities.

  • Therefore not all gender differences in socialisation operate to the disadvantage of female students since they may also be encouraged through socialisation to take more interest in reading and thinking about personal issues. This may have been especially helpful for English, MFL and Humanities :exactly the subjects in which female improvement has been fastest at GCSE level .

  • However we must remember that girls have always been taught to read mainly by female teachers and by their mothers and so this factor does not on its own explain recent female relative educational improvement.

  • There have also been important changes in the occupational structures of advanced industrial countries and in the nature of family life that have had a major impact on female attitudes to education.


Possible factors explaining females increased educational achievements 3 l.jpg
Possible factors explaining females’ increased educational achievements. [3]

  • Several factors combined in the post-2nd World War period to increase the availability of service industry and light manufacturing employment deemed especially suitable for women. More married women took up paid employment.

  • Many more married women found employment in secretarial and shop work and in light manufacturing.

  • A small minority of married women were employed in high status occupations; a larger minority were employed in nursing, teaching [especially in First and Middle schools] and in social work. These were the so-called caring professions deemed especially suitable for women since the skills necessary appeared loosely related to the skills traditionally used by women in their roles as housewives and mothers.

  • This increased employment of married women meant that they now provided less traditional role models for their daughters who would now increasingly expect to remain in employment after marriage. However career opportunities for women were still limited and this may have still have discouraged girls from focussing seriously on their education.

  • However the availability of professional employment opportunities was gradually to increase for example as a result of the expansion of the Welfare State and the financial sector of the economy which gradually tended to alter female attitudes towards education and future careers.


Possible factors explaining females increasing educational achievements 3 l.jpg
Possible factors explaining females’ increasing educational achievements [3]

  • The increased employment of married women was one factor which was said to have encouraged a shift from asymmetrical to symmetrical family forms.

  • Although the extent of such changes should not be overstated it is certainly possible that in more symmetrical families girls were less likely to be socialised to accept that their futures would automatically be as full-time housewives and mothers rather than as paid employees.

  • In the 1950s and 1960s there may well have been significant social class differences in gender socialisation. Many middle class parents encouraged the daughters to pursue their education seriously even in the 1950s whereas working class parents were less likely to do so.

  • However it is likely that by the 1980s working class parents also became increasingly likely to encourage their daughters to prioritise their education.


Possible factors explaining female students increased educational achievements 4 l.jpg
Possible factors explaining female students’ increased educational achievements [4]

  • The effects of changes in family organisation and parental attitudes were complemented by changing attitudes within the education system itself.

  • Feminists ,and teachers influenced by Feminism, emphasised the importance of women’s rights in family ,school and work place.

  • Some female students were influenced by these ideas, especially perhaps by the Liberal Feminist version of Feminism.

  • Therefore more female students decided that they might want good careers in the future instead of or as well as marriage.

  • They recognised that if they were well educated and in well paid careers this would significantly improve potential family living standards if and when they did marry.

  • Some recognised the possible inaccuracy of the romanticised view of married life and may also have noted that the increase in the divorce statistics suggested the possibility that they might need to support themselves and children financially after divorce.


Possible factors explaining female students increased educational achievements 5 l.jpg
Possible factors explaining female students’ increased educational achievements [5]

  • The conclusions of the earlier sociological studies of female educational disadvantage now led feminists and other educational reformers to propose educational reforms that would remove gender discrimination within the education.

  • Significant reforms were introduced.

    • More emphasis was placed on equal opportunities issues in teacher training courses , schools, and school inspections.

    • Better teaching resources were developed which aimed at avoidance of gender stereotyping;

    • Under the terms of the National Curriculum introduced in 1988 GCSE Science was made compulsory for all students as a result of which more female students entered for and gained A*-C grades in GCSE Science examinations.

    • Academics and teachers combined to form GIST [Girls into Science and Technology] and WISE [Women into Science and Engineering] was set up by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Engineering Council. These organisations aimed to produce more “girl friendly” Science teaching resources and to broaden female career horizons.

    • Careers advice for female students began to improve

    • The greater emphasis on examination results and the introduction of league tables made it increasingly necessary for schools to maximise both boys’ and girls’ examination results as a means of safeguarding/improving league table performance.


Possible factors explaining female students increased educational achievements 5b gist l.jpg
Possible factors explaining female students’ increased educational achievements [5B] : GIST

  • The effectiveness of GIST and WISE should not be overstated

  • In the GIST programme[1979-1983] researchers worked  in 10 co-educational comprehensive schools to try to raise teacher awareness of equal opportunities issues and to encourage more girls to opt for Sciences at GCE and CSE levels.

  • The final report concluded that the initiative had improved girls' attitudes to Science and Technology only  slightly.

  • Girls' enrolments in GCE and CSE Science increased only slightly.

  • Teachers , although sympathetic to the programme said that they had not modified their teaching practices substantially as a result.

  • However the GIST initiative could be regarded as an early pilot programme which has encouraged many subsequent equal opportunities initiatives


Possible factors explaining female students increased educational achievements 5c wise l.jpg
Possible factors explaining female students’ increased educational achievements [5C] : WISE

  • The WISE programme was set up as a national initiative by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Engineering Council in 1984 and was designed to raise awareness of the need for more female scientists and technologists and to emphasise the attractiveness for girls, young women and older women seeking to retrain of  careers in Science and Technology.

  • WISE is still in operation and its website points out that whereas about 20 years ago only 4% of Engineering undergraduates were women the figure for 2009 was 13%.

  • Obviously WISE itself may well have contributed to this increase at least to some extent.  


Slide30 l.jpg

Possible Factors Explaining Females’ Relatively Rapid Educational Improvement: Becky Francis’ Study : Boys, Girls and Achievement: Addressing the Classroom Issues [2000]

  • The findings of  Becky Francis in this  study  encapsulate many of the above points .

  • She argues that in so far as girls are improving more rapidly than boys , this is to be explained  primarily in terms of the processes affecting the social construction of femininity and masculinity. In relation to the social construction of femininity, she argues that many girls of middle school and secondary school age aim to construct feminine identities which emphasise the importance of maturity and a relatively quiet and orderly approach to school life.

  • Girls certainly do take considerable interest in their appearance and may choose to rebel quietly by talking at the back of the class or feigning lack of interest but , according to Becky Francis, not in a way which will detract from their school studies. Their femininity is constructed in such a way that if they choose to behave sensibly and work hard this, if anything, adds to their femininity.


Becky francis 2 l.jpg
Becky Francis [2] Educational Improvement: Becky Francis’ Study : Boys, Girls and Achievement: Addressing the Classroom Issues [2000]

  • No evidence is found to the effect that girls nowadays worry that evidence of intelligence and hard work may render them unattractive to boys  and attitudes within female friendship groups are likely to strengthen rather than undermine girls' commitment to their school work. although ,admittedly , however, girls do not wish to be perceived as "nerds", interested in school work and nothing else. Increasingly also  by comparison , say with the girls interviewed by Sue Sharpe in the first edition of "Just Like a Girl" teenage girls nowadays have gradually come to prioritise the importance of gaining good academic qualifications as a means of improving their own career prospects rather than assuming that their future employment is likely to be of secondary importance by comparison with their likely future roles as housewives and mothers.


Becky francis 3 l.jpg
Becky Francis: [3] Educational Improvement: Becky Francis’ Study : Boys, Girls and Achievement: Addressing the Classroom Issues [2000]

  • Thus the girls in Becky Francis sample express interest in a relatively wide variety of careers; are relatively unlikely to favour stereotypical female careers such as nurse, clerical worker or air hostess ; are quite likely to express interest in careers usually associated with men and very likely to express interest in careers for which further education, higher education and a degree will be necessary. However broadly traditional patterns of career choice do remain in that the girls are more likely to choose careers associated with the Humanities or the caring professions than with Science, Mathematics or Engineering. Also very importantly the girls believe strongly that they are likely to face gender discrimination in employment and Becky Francis sees this as a major reason why girls are increasingly keen to work hard to achieve good educational qualifications.


Explaining the relatively slow rate of male educational improvement 1 l.jpg
Explaining the relatively slow rate of male educational improvement :1

  • For more detailed information click here and then on the relevant subsequent link.

  • Continued existence of laddish, macho anti- school subculture.

  • Boys may sometimes overestimate their abilities and consequently make limited progress.

  • Male socialisation process inhibits development of linguistic and interpretive skills.

  • Change in occupational structure and the decline of manufacturing industry has demoralised some boys whose preferred work choices disappear which may encourage misbehaviour in school.

  • Misbehaviour leads to poor concentration and possible exclusion


Explaining the slower rate of male educational improvement 2 l.jpg
Explaining the slower rate of male educational improvement : 2

  • Possibility that teachers don’t do enough to discourage laddish culture

  • Negative teacher labelling of boys

  • Emphasis on poor boys’ results discourages some boys even more.

  • However many boys [especially but not only middle class boys] are academically ambitious and many others now recognise the greater importance of educational qualifications as a means of securing steady employment

  • Possibility of exaggerated moral panic over boys’ examination results linked to the development of a UK Underclass.

  • Backlash type arguments; claims that schools have overemphasised relative female educational disadvantage to the detriment of male students. Educational reform should now give greater priority to boys’ educational difficulties.


Slower male educational improvement 3 moral panic underclass and backlash arguments l.jpg
Slower Male Educational Improvement 3: Moral Panic, Underclass and Backlash Arguments

  • Issues around the concepts of moral panic and underclass are complex. For some further information click here and then on the subsequent relevant link.

  • The relative improvement in female educational achievement especially at GCSE level was presented in some sections of the mass media in ways which intensified the so-called “Moral Panic” which developed in the 1980s surrounding the growth of a so-called underclass of unemployed, criminally inclined and welfare dependent individuals who because of their feckless behaviour should be seen as part of the “undeserving poor” to use rather older terminology.

  • In conservative versions of the underclass theory as expounded primarily by Charles Murray it is argued that the development of the underclass can best be held back by denial or reduction of social security payments which will force these people to stand on their own two feet etc.


An underclass 2 l.jpg
An Underclass? [2] Underclass and Backlash Arguments

  • The argument that an increasing proportion of schoolboys make little effort in school to improve their own prospects lends support to the underclass theory.

  • Furthermore the underclass theory lends support to New Right ideas that it is desirable in any case to restrict the scope of the welfare state so that, for example, taxation can be reduced.

  • Some theorists argue, therefore, that the whole issue of boys’ educational difficulties has been exaggerated to act as a support for New Right ideology.

  • Nevertheless there are also structural versions of the Underclass theory which are not linked to New Right ideology and one can analyse relative male educational underachievement without linking it in any way to theories of the underclass.

  • You may wish to investigate further the concepts of “moral panic” and “underclass”


Slower male educational improvement backlash arguments l.jpg
Slower Male Educational Improvement : ”Backlash” Arguments

  • Writers such as Susan Faludi suggested that there was evidence in the mass media of a growing anti-feminist “backlash” in which it was argued that anti-discrimination and equal opportunities had now gone so far that it was now males who were more likely than females to experience discrimination.

  • In relation to education it was argued that specifically female friendly education policies had become one of the prime causes of male relative educational underachievement.

  • Against this Susan Faludi herself argues that women clearly continue to face various forms of gender discrimination .

  • With regard to education critics of the “backlash” approach argue that much more credible explanations for gender differences in educational achievement can be found.

  • For more information click here and then on the subsequent relevant link for more information on backlash arguments.


Gender differences in educational achievement conclusion l.jpg
Gender Differences in Educational Achievement: Conclusion Arguments

  • Since the late 1980s relative female educational achievement has increased at all levels of the educational system such that they now out-perform males at GCSE and GCE Advanced levels and are more likely than males to enrol on undergraduate and post graduate courses.

  • Their relative improvement can be found in factors operative in the family and wider society and in the schools themselves.

  • Nevertheless may mainly working class females are still relatively unsuccessful in the education system such that class [and some ethnic] differences in educational achievement are greater than gender differences in educational achievement.

  • The slower rate of relative male educational underachievement may be explained in terms of the ongoing extent of “laddish” behaviour and the difficulty that some boys appear to face in coming to terms with the subject matter of some Humanities subjects although neither of these arguments apply to all boys.

  • You should also familiarise yourselves with the relevance of the concepts of moral panic and the underclass and with so-called “backlash arguments for the analysis of this topic.

  • Good luck!


ad