Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"The Boy Crisis" is Not Overblown

In a report that is rapidly making its way around the Internet, educational researchers suggest that "The Boy Crisis" is overblown. That is not true - as boys outnumber girls in special education programs at twice the rate of girls, and they are also more than twice as likely to be grade retained (NAEP):

It's important to remember that higher numbers of grade-retained boys at every level K-12 are contributing to testing results. From the Education Sector report, "The real story is not bad news about boys doing worse," the report says, "it's good news about girls doing better."

In reading and writing, girls clearly seem to show superiority to boys (this does not by itself imply unfairness, it could also reflect some biological differences in language processing).

Interestingly, the NAEP also shows that boys edge out the girls in science and math:

So why are boys dropping out of school at twice the rate of girls? Could it be that conventional school achievement unduely emphasizes Language Arts (minimizing Problem Solving and Analytical ability)? An interesting thought...

Consider these other interesting gender differences below, though - boys are much more likely to plan on leaving before the end of high school, while girls are educationally ambitious. Look at the number planning graduate school.

But we shouldn't stop there. If boys feel that school doesn't hold much for them, what kind of future might await them outside of school? Certainly more school bodes better for a higher salary, but even without a degree, boys fare better than girls. It might be for some that the workforce is more appealing than more school - that also should be considered in gender differences.

Study Casts Doubt on Boy Crisis
Nations Report Card - NAEP
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Boys, Girls, and Different Brains
National Center for Education Statistics

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