Boys educational underachievement (Epstain et al, 1998, Reed, 1999), has raised nationwide and global apprehension and has been the main focal point of the current ‘gender agenda’. Newspapers consist of headlines such as “It is right to worry about the future of our young men” (2010 The Observer), “Use sand to help young boys write, says government” (2009: Guardian), “Are co-ed or single-sex lessons best?” (2009: Guardian) and “Quarter of boys miss writing target at 7!” (2009: Guardian)
In this essay I will present relevant statistics illustrating the current gender gap of boys underachievement. Further to this, I will also exemplify the social and political change in times in terms of how this has effected boys and girls educational attainment, identifying the contrast of attainment amid girls and boys in education. Finally, I will suggest how I would tackle such an issue, if I had the influence to do so.
Geoff Hannan, an expert on the topic, suggests that boys are 11 months behind girls with regards to speaking and listening skills, one year behind in literacy and six months behind in mathematics.
Hannan also claims that by KS3 tests that take place in year nine, girls are frequently over a year ahead of the boys in English, 10% more girls consistently achieve the higher GCSE grades (A* to C).
The core subject of English appears to represent the largest separation between girls and boys academic achievement. Ivan Lewis MP suggested that 17% of girls rocket ahead, attaining higher scores than that of the boys in this subject. In other subjects such as history, geography, design and technology and modern languages, Lewis claims that there is still an apparent variance, with an out performance of 10% higher marks achieved by girls.
Things have not always been this way with regards to girls academic achievement and it is essential to look at the path of which girls and boys have taken throughout the years of academia in order to understand more in depth the problems that are currently encountered in schooling with regard to issues of gender.
“The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man attaining to a higher eminence in what ever he takes up, than women can attain- whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands.”
(Charles Darwin, The Decent of Man, (1871))
This text was written over 100 years ago, fortunately the observation of women is now less ignorant . The reason behind this change in opinion over time, can also lead us to be au fait with and understand today’s crises of boys underachievement in education.
In the nineteenth century academic education for girls was undetermined and controversial to say the very least, parents where bombarded with the notion that their daughters learning mathematics and science would lead to their health and welfare becoming compromised, primarily jeopardizing their femininity and...