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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

Examine the reasons for changes in the educational attainment of males and females in recent years (20 marks) For the past recent years girls have significantly outperformed boys in educational attainment and this is due to a number of factors. The GCSE results for 2000 and 2001 shows the degree to which the percentage of girls achieving grades A*-C exceeded that of boys. In 2002, 62.4% of female GCSE entrants achieved grades A*-C, compared with 53.4% of males. Research published in 2003 shows that the gap between girls and boys widens as they grow older. The most recent barrier which is being broken down is that of university entry. The most recent official figures for a gender breakdown in university admission are from 2001. These show that while 43% of all young people entered higher education, the figure for girls was 46.7% and for boys 40.4% Joan Gannod drew a number of conclusions as to why this was. ...read more.

Middle

Over 58% of boys thought they suffered from discrimination. This included the belief that teachers were more likely to criticise boys than girls Licht & Dweck argued that as a result of this criticism, boys are more likely to blame their teachers when they fail. As girls tend to have better relationships with teachers, they are more likely to accept the blame for academic failure and are therefore willing to seek help with their academic problems. Some sociologists argue that boys relationships with teachers is being affected by the increase in the number of women teachers in schools. It is argued that some boys feel that women teachers give girls preferential treatment. This is supported by the research carried out by the Sackville GCSE Sociology Group. Of a 10% representative sample of the pupils at the school, 58.4% of the boys believed that women teachers treated girls better than boys in the classroom. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sharpe also discovered that there had been changes in attitude towards work. Although the majority of girls still expected to go into jobs that Sharpe classified as "women's work" there was a significant increase in the number of girls expressing professional career hopes such as doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. Sharpe has argued that these changes in attitudes towards marriage and work are factors in explaining why girls are performing better at school than they were twenty years ago. I think that the interactionist perspective for example, Peter Woods is successful in theory, as he believes that it provides information which could lead to better teaching and a reduction in conflict and deviance within schools however this Marxist approach has its limitations and its main focus is from a macro perspective and does not appear to focus on each individual. The relative uniformity of meanings that lie behind what counts as knowledge and ability, suggests that such meanings are not simply constructed in the classroom but rather they have a wider and fundamental basis. ...read more.

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