Gender difference

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Exploring the reasons for gender differences in GCSE exam results


  • To investigate the gender differences in GCSE results
  • To investigate possible reasons for the differences between gender and success at GCSE

I have chosen to study this particular topic because I would personally like to know why there is a discrepancy in GCSE results, depending on gender. Throughout history there have been debates on the equality of the two sexes and this is an aspect that defies all policies. I would like to know why there is inequality on this facet of society. On a more personal level I would like to know of any possibility of my educational attainment being affected by gender.

In regards to Sociology, I am studying this area because I want to find out the sociological explanations for the discrepancy in exam results. There are various sociological concepts that relate to this issue, and they could provide possible reasons for these differences.

This investigation evidently requires research, so I will be submitting a questionnaire to teachers in order to find out their opinions regarding this issue. It will also provide me the grounds to explore possible links between gender and educational success in their experience. This would be my primary research.

My secondary piece of research would be to look at existing exam results from previous years and seek the more successful gender.

I predict that the more successful gender would be the girls. I intend to test this predication and also find out why, during the course of this investigation. I would also look at sociologists’ research on this topic and relate my findings to these theories.

Some of the key concepts in my work are:

  • Socialisation- Boys and Girls are socialised differently and have different upbringings. This may be a contributing factor to a discrepancy in results.
  • ‘Nature or nurture?’- Are boys and girls destined to achieve the way they do because of their gender? Or are they brought up in a way that secures their fate? Determine if the cause is biological or environmental.
  • Peer pressure-        Peer group pressure could be another contributing factor to this consequence as young people in particular tend to follow the same trends as their friends and the people around them. Boys could be pressured into underachieving because they want to join the crowd and follow their friends. Those boys that are naturally clever, that have the potential to achieve, choose not to achieve because they choose to follow their friends. Their submission to peer pressure could be an underlying source to this issue.
  • Labelling- teachers sometimes, perhaps unknowingly, label students into certain categories depending on their gender. For example, boys can be labelled as underachievers and unintelligent. This could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy; if a teacher labels a student with a negative attribute the student is likely to feel discouraged to work hard, therefore fulfilling the prophecy. This could also work vice versa; the teacher could label a girl as being a successful achiever and by doing so, push her towards this goal. She would feel determined as a result of this support and fulfil her prophecy by succeeding.
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I aim to relate my findings to the work of sociologists who have carried out research on this matter such as Jerry A. Jacobs who believed that females disadvantaged from education as they achieved less than males. Dr. Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn believed that the cause of the gender differences in educational attainment was due to biological causes. Linda Croxford and Teresa Tinklin stated that the cause for the disparity is peer pressure. Patrick McDaid carried out further research and declared that the cause was due to the way in which the students are taught as girls are ...

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