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Examine the reasons for changes in the educational attainment of males and females in recent years.

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Introduction

E: Examine the reasons for changes in the educational attainment of males and females in recent years. Until the 1980's there were many concerns about the underachievement of girls compared to boys in educational attainment. However since the early 1990's girls have done consistently better and started to out perform boys at most levels in education. It is widely argued that gender influences attainment. Studies have shown that boys do not perform as well as girls in standard subjects. Girls are now overtaking boys. A variety of reasons have been suggested for the difference between male and female attainment in education, it is not simply a case of 'boys doing badly' 'girls doing well'. The relationship between gender and attainment is much more complex. In regards to the 'gender gap', it is not the same in all subjects. Boys perform slightly better in maths than girls, so it cannot be applied to all levels of education. The change in academic results has occurred due to the changing attitudes in society. ...read more.

Middle

At GCSE level coursework counts for a greater amount of assessment and requires good organization and sustained application and girls do better than boys in both respects. Many of the reasons given for girl's improvement also help to suggest why boys are underachieving. However Mitsos & Browne suggest there are other explanations to take into account. * Teachers have lower expectations of boys and are more likely to accept poorly presented class work from the boys as compared to girls. Teachers are more likely to extend deadlines for work and be more tolerant of bad behaviour from the boys in the classroom. * Boys are generally more 'disruptive' than girls. They lose quality-learning time as a result of being 'sent out' or excluded from lessons due to their bad or disruptive behaviour in the classroom. Boys are also more likely to be expelled compared to girls. * The culture of masculinity encourages boys to want to be seen as macho and hard. By not working in school, boys gain 'street cred' and peer status, some boys develop an 'anti-education, anti-learning subculture, where schoolwork is seen as un-macho. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore the education system is still characterised by female underachievement. According to Wiener et al, what is happening is a 'backlash' against female success. Men feel threatened by female improvement, and the fact that women may become equal. Another criticism is that education is patriarchal and socialises women into a submissive role. This takes place because boys dominate the classroom interactions. The most important positions in school are usually held by men. Subjects like sociology tend to attract female students, but are often taught by males. Generally schools are 'Gender regime' In conclusion it would be fair to say that there has been a change in the educational attainment of boys and girls. But as we have seen there are several explanations for the girl's improvement and for the boy's underachievement. There are complex issues in which the social class background of pupils affects attainment It would seem that unless there is a vast change in the education system at GCSE level, the educational gap between boys and girls would continue to increase until perhaps the females become the dominant sex. 1 ...read more.

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