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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Girls beating boys in academics: Guy thing or failing system?

"Standardized tests show that girls — whether elementary students or college freshman, here or around the world — know more than boys." according to Post-Bulletin.


In Ohio and elsewhere, girls score better in reading, writing, math and — to a lesser degree — social studies.

Boys do only marginally better in science, but as hard-wired gender roles shift and educators increasingly pitch engineering to underrepresented women, girls are catching up in that last subject where boys dominate.

Women are excelling in college, too.

Between 2009 and 2013 women, ages 24 and up, earned four-year degrees 64 percent faster than men. More shocking is that, also in that five-year window, the number of professional and graduate degree-holders grew 120 percent faster for women, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Despite their academic achievement, women still earn less than men regardless of college. Though the wage gap is shrinking, the longer a woman spends in college, the more likely a man with the same education level will make even more than her.

Theories abound
Several theories attempt to explain why boys and girls have markedly different educational outcomes:
  • Because the academic gap exists across ages, societies and races, researchers suggest intellectual maturity and normal child development favor females. The gap is widest at the middle-school level. 
  • Physiology plays a role. Adolescence can disrupt education as boys and girls develop. The age of puberty is when teachers begin to see the differences. 
  • Behavior is big. Boys are 2½ times more likely to be suspended and nearly three times more likely to be expelled, according to Ohio Department of Education data. They also drop out of school more often.
  • Girls might think differently. Educators say they are less oppositional and deeper thinkers.
  • Society could be to blame. Boys are encouraged to be aggressive, which would explain the defiant behavior and the dominance in high-paying corporate positions. Stereotypical gender roles drive boys to competitive sports and girls to reading and writing — two subjects in which they dominate boys.
  • The last reason is more nuanced. Is it possible that test results aren't a reflection of academic potential, but instead suggest that the education system is failing boys?

Source: Post-Bulletin