Assess the view that gender differences in achievement are largely the result of changes in the education system (20 marks).
For many decades it has been seen that girls have begun to significantly outperform boys at most levels of the education system. Many believe that the coursework courses and assessment throughout the year found in education today has been seen to benefit the organised way most girls learn and study, compared to the previous O level examinations which typically benefitted boys. Changes within the education system are seen as the main cause of gender differences in achievement, although external factors such as the increased impact of feminism and changes in the family may also have influenced the increase in girl’s results.
A key change within education is the way in which teachers are seen to interact with pupils. Sociologist Jane and Peter French (1993) argue that interaction within the classroom between the teachers and boys was not that different to that of girls. However, it was seen that boys tend to get more attention from teachers in terms of punishments, and Spender (1983) found that teachers spend more time interacting with boys than with girls. Francis (2001) argues that while boys get more attention, they are disciplined more harshly by teachers and felt more picked on as teachers had lower expectations of them.