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Gender and Educational Attainment

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Gender and Educational Attainment Sociologists have put forward a variety of explanations as to why there is differential access and attainment regarding males and females within the educational system. I will give an account of these referencing various studies and reports. I will use evidence to support both boys underachievement at GCSE level as well as young women's underachievement at further and higher education level. I will use further evidence to explain the reasons why this happens. Since the early 1970's two of the central concerns of feminists and sociologists of education have been the underachievement of girls and the role played by the education system which was caused by gender inequalities in society. Research has revealed how girls in the past where often disadvantaged in schools and education due to the official and hidden curricula and by attitudes of the teachers and pupils. It has been found that the boys in the past received more of the teachers time, interest and attention as it was commonly thought that the males of society would be the bread winners and therefore the girls would not need or use education at the same level as the boys. ...read more.


Research by Harris in 1993 into the attitudes of 16-year-olds from predominantly working class backgrounds towards schoolwork, homework and careers confirms that many boys are achieving below their potential. In my opinion this has resulted from the initiatives meant to encourage girls in subjects. I believe this because in my opinion the boys have become less interested in lessons due to many subjects such as English becoming more girl orientated which has lead to the girls becoming more interested and the boys becoming less interested. This problem could be rectified by creating single sex schools where teachers would use work in all subjects, which would interest and involve the males. Another factor that I believe has demoralized boys is the fact that many there have been a vast decline in traditional male jobs. This may explain why many boys are not interested in education and are under-performing. In my opinion this would result in males and females becoming more equal academically. However this vast gap between girls and boys at GCSE level has no reflect on results A-level and in higher education. Research shows that while girls perform better at GCSE level they tend to fall behind, being less likely than boys to get the three A-levels required for university entry and less likely to get into higher education. ...read more.


This is because teachers are not as strict with boys as they are with girls. Teachers are more likely to extent deadlines for work, to have lower expectations of boys, to be more tolerant of disruptive, unruly behavior from boys in the classroom and to accept poorly presented work. This is causing the boys not to be pushed or forefil their academic potential. Other explanations of male underachievement focus on the impact of wider societal changes and also the peer-group pressure placed on males by other males not to work and in a extreme some develop almost an 'anti-education' culture. Another factor that causes this academic gap is the fact that girls develop faster than boys so therefore at GCSE level the girls pocess a more mature attitude towards school and exams where as the time it comes to A-level or higher education the males of society catch up or over take the females in being more responsible and focused. From this I can also conclude that unless there is a vast change in the education system at GCSE level the educational gap between girls and boys will continue to increase until the point that the females become the dominate sex. ...read more.

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