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AS Unit 2 - Education

8) Underachievement of boys in Education

Educational achievements for both genders have increased over the years, however boys are being outperformed by girls. There are several reasons for this female dominance:

  • The Women’s movement – Women’s movements have raised expectations and self-esteem of women considerably. Now women feel they can be more ambitious so are performing  better at school
  • Growing ambition – Women now have a much higher level of ambition than in earlier years. This could be due to more positive role model such as Margerate Thatcher and more female doctors showing girls they can achieve. Or it could be that there are now more job oppurtunities for women, so they have something to strive towards.
  • Girls work better and are more motivated – Evidence suggests girl work harder than boys in education. This involves spending more time on work, greater concentration, more organised etc. Becase of this girls on average have benefited more from the introduction of coursework.
  • Girls mature earlier – At 16 girls are thought to be 2 years more mature than boys (average). This means girls will take a better approach to learning and therefore attain more
  • Higher expectations of girls – Some evidence suggests teachers are not as strict with boys as girls. They are more likely to tolerate bad behaviour, missed deadlines and poor work from boys than girls, this means girls will be pushed to achieve more
  • The male anti-learning subculture – Boys appear to earn respect of some fellow classmates by not working, disrupting the class and showing bad behaviour, similarly for some groups doing work is seen as “girly” and “unmacho”. This leads to groups, normally boys, creating a culture within the classroom that goes agains’t learning. This of course leads to lower attainment for boys.
  • Lack of male employment- There has been a reduction in the number of “male” jobs, such as engineering and manual labour, this means boys have much less to aspire towards for the future and therefore don’t work as hard
  • Feeling and behaving differentlyBoys tend to feel overconfident and overestimate their own ability, whilst girl underestimate theirs. This leads to putting less effort in, thinking they have enough natural ability to not have to try to hard. Conversely, girls feel they need to work very hard to achieve good results and therefore work much harder.
  • Different leisure – Stereotyping male leisure involves “doing” (computer games, sport etc) whilst girls leisure involves “talking” (chatting, reading etc). This talking helps develop langauge skills which help girls achieve more at school

About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology

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