From the Belfast Telegraph.
A five-year study of hundreds of post-primary pupils in Northern Ireland has found flaws in our education system that could be hindering boys’ ability to learn.
The research — funded by the Departments of Education and Justice — was carried out following concerns about boys’ educational underachievement, health and well-being.
It has previously been noted as a particular problem among boys from working-class Protestant areas.
Key findings of the ‘Taking Boys Seriously’ report, by Dr Ken Harland and Sam McCready from the University of Ulster, include:
- A lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills from primary school which is not being dealt with early post-primary.
- Boys from lower academic class streams perceiving they are not given the same opportunities to learn as those from higher.
- Boys being unprepared for key transitional stages (such as moving schools or moving from junior stream into senior) during adolescence.
- The formal nature of the classroom leaving a significant number of boys feeling bored, frustrated and impacting negatively on their concentration.
The study of 378 male pupils from nine post-primary schools across Northern Ireland quizzed the boys annually between Years 8 and 12.
[…]Recommendations in the 114-page report include:
- Encouraging more males into teaching.
- Teacher training should support teachers to understand the changing needs of adolescent boys.
Life Site News adds:
The problem of boys’ underachievement in primary and secondary school follows them into their later lives. Research from 2006 has tracked the decline in male academic performance over the same period as the rise of feminist-dominated ideologies in academia and policymaking.
The ratio of males to females graduating from a four-year college stood at 1.60 in 1960, fell to parity by 1980, and continued its decline until by 2003, there were 135 females for every 100 males who graduated from a four-year college. Another study found that half of the current gender gap in college attendance can be linked to lower rates of high-school graduation among males, particularly for young black men.
The work of one American researcher may offer clues to the question of why and how. Professor Christopher Cornwell at the University of Georgia has found that a heavily feminist-driven education paradigm systematically favours girls and disadvantages boys from their first days in school.
Examining student test scores and grades of children in kindergarten through fifth grade, Cornwell found that boys in all racial categories are not being “commensurately graded by their teachers” in any subject “as their test scores would predict.”
The answer lies in the way teachers, who are statistically mostly women, evaluate students without reference to objective test scores. Boys are regularly graded well below their actual academic performance.
Boys are falling significantly behind in grades, “despite performing as least as well as girls on math tests, and significantly better on science tests.”
After fifth grade, he found, student assessment becomes a matter of “a teacher’s subjective assessment of the student’s performance,” and is further removed from the guidance of objective test results. Teachers, he says, tend to assess students on non-cognitive, “socio-emotional skills.” This has had a significant impact on boys’ later achievement because, while objective test scores are important, it is teacher-assigned grades that determine a child’s future with class placement, high school graduation and college admissibility.
Eliminating the factor of “non-cognitive skills…almost eliminates the estimated gender gap in reading grades,” Cornwell found. He said he found it “surprising” that although boys out-perform girls on math and science test scores, girls out-perform boys on teacher-assigned grades.
In science and general knowledge, as in math skills, the data showed that kindergarten and first grade white boys’ grades “are lower by 0.11 and 0.06 standard deviations, even though their test scores are higher.” This disparity continues and grows through to the fifth grade, with white boys and girls being graded similarly, “but the disparity between their test performance and teacher assessment grows.”
[…]The study, he said, shows that “teachers’ assessments are not aligned with test-score data, with greater gender disparities in appearing in grading than testing outcomes”. And the “gender disparity” always favours girls.
This is why I recommend homeschooling for boys especially up until grade 6 or later, when grading is more objective. And boys should focus on math, science, technology and engineering, where there is less room for discrimination by feminist teachers who are biased against boys. Unfortunately, even though you are homeschooling, you still have to pay taxes for the feminist-dominated public school system, which enjoys overwhelming support from women voters, especially single women voters.
The best book on this topic is by Christina Hoff Sommers, entitled “The War Against Boys“. If you click through to the Life Site News article, they have a section on it towards the end of the article. It is very important that pastors and other conservatives understand that the current problems with boys and young men are not going to be solved by ignorant male-blaming slogans like “Man Up!”. Christians and conservatives need to think more deeply about these problems, and they may find that they are actually espousing the very thing (feminism) that is the root cause of the decline in men, and their lack of interest in marriage. Let’s take a look at the studies and be bound by research instead of the desire to please women in our churches by telling them that men are to blame for their woes.
Check out my previous post about the Cornwell study, which compared teacher-assigned test scores with standardized test scores for girls and boys.