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Assess Sociological explanations of increasing educational underachievement among boys in contemporary Britain

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Assess Sociological explanations of increasing educational underachievement among boys in contemporary Britain When talking about the fact that females 'out do' males in the classroom it is not simply a case of 'boys doing badly, girls doing well'. The relationship between gender and attainment is much more complex; It is not the same in all subjects- boys perform slightly better in GCSE math's than girls, it can not be applied to all levels of education, particularly university where the drop out rate is higher amongst girls and also it has changed throughout history. Many different reasons are behind the different levels of achievement, for instance the Hidden Curriculum, 'Laddish Culture', Biology and changing attitudes. In 2003, 57.8% of girls got five A*-C grades compared to 47.5% of boys.1 Which shows just how dramatic the difference is in the gender gap. The schooling system has changed dramatically to reach what it is today in contemporary Britain. Woman weren't allowed to even sit exams until the late 19th Century when the London examining board permitted it. ...read more.


Shaw3). A study done by Rosenthal and Jacobson, on the effects of labelling on American elementary school children showed that labelling does effect your education. Therefore, if teachers label males as underachieving compared to females, they will be. A valid criticism of this is the fact that labelling can work two ways, either the pupil will live up to their expectation (the Self Fulfilling Prophecy) or they will rebel against their label, and 'prove the teacher wrong'. An explanation of the reason for educational underachievement in boys is the biological one, or also known and the genetic explanation. One argument is that females mature earlier than males. This can be shown in girls out doing males exams taken at a younger age, for example the 11plus. It also explains the fact that in the past males out done females at exams taken above the age of 16. Although this does not explain why females are progressively outdoing males at all levels, including post 16 exams. ...read more.


This may be due to the change in the working sectors, as more 'feminine' jobs come in, less 'masculine' jobs are available (for instance, labour work). This could lead to the males not having sufficient male role models. In conclusion I believe that it is a mixture of different factors that are effecting the male underachievement in education, in contemporary Britain. These include, changing female attitudes and roles, biology, the development of a 'Laddish Culture', and the Hidden Curriculum. I don't believe you could put it down to just one of these explanations. I also believe that something needs to be done to help the males become equal with females in educations as, "If present trends continue then females will be the dominant gender in education."6 1 DfEE statistics 2 Reynolds, Kate Feminist Thinking on Education (Social Studies Review, March 1991) page 200 3 Lawson, Tony AZ Sociology Handbook 2nd Edition (Hodder and Stoughter 2000) Page 228 4 BBC news Girls top of the class worldwide BBC MMIV 16th September 2003 5 Ibid 6 Taylor, Paul Sociology in Focus (Causeway Press Limited 2002) page 303 1 ...read more.

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