Examine the reasons why females tend to achieve more than males in the education system

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Amy Morris        14/04/08        Education

Examine the reasons why females tend to achieve more than males in the education system

Females are now exceeding their male counterparts in their achievement in the education system. From the early 90’s females have been achieving more and have clearly overtaken males. In 2003/4 the females had taken over males by 20% in achieving 5 or more A*-C GCSE grades. This enormous gender gap is now causing some sociologists to be concerned in male underachievement in the education system. The media have created the view that boys are underachieving; they are just not improving as quickly as females. Sociologists such as Sue Sharpe and Weiner, Arnot and David look at the reasons for the female’s success. Whereas sociologists, like Paul Willis and Mitsos and Browne suggest reasons for male underachievement.

Weiner, Arnot and David are cynical about the underachievement of boys. They feel that the concern about the boy’s underachievement is a reaction against the progress of women. They say that girls are succeeding because of the National Curriculum at GCSE level, but at A-level the subjects are still gendered. Meaning that not many females pick certain subjects - therefore limiting the subjects that can do. By the subjects being limited it doesn’t allow females to pick subjects they either want to do or will achieve well in due to an overwhelming number of male students in the classes. Because of this it has been shown that males generally tend to do better at A-level than females. But, if there was a step towards de-genderising subjects, there would be more females achieving higher then the males.

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Sue Sharpe’s survey found that in the 1970’s girls had low expectations and were more likely to become a housewife and mother. They only saw jobs as a means of getting money before they married. When she when she revisited girls in the 1990’s, they had higher expectation and saw jobs as careers. Her study shows the change in attitudes and expectations, which is a main reason for female overachievement. This is because women don’t want to be dependent on males, and want a career so they are not economically dependant on anyone else. This allows them to be ...

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