Assess the claim that gender differences in educational achievement are primarily the ‘result of changes in wider society’

Topics: Social class, Sociology, Middle class Pages: 4 (1251 words) Published: January 30, 2014
Assess the claim that gender differences in educational achievement are primarily the ‘result of changes in wider society’

Sociology explanations have suggested many different reasons for the gender differences in educational achievement.

In the 1980s, sociologists spoke about how girls are underachieving due to education being controlled and dominated by men (Spender, 1983) but in more recent years, there have been worries that it is the boys who are falling behind. In recent statistics, it is shown that girls are gaining better results at GCSEs and also are more likely to go onto higher education. The curriculum has also become very gender bias, for example certain subjects are seen to be either for boys or girls. For instance girls tend to go for communication subjects such as English and Sociology whereas boys tend to go for the technical ones such as Maths and Physics. It is said by many sociologists that the difference achieving levels can be due to factors occurring in the school.

One internal factor is labelling. To label someone is to attach a meaning or definition to them. This is especially done by teachers as they usually label boys negatively with a phrase such as ‘silly boys’ or associate pranks as ‘schoolboy pranks’ or even ask them questions like ‘why you can’t you sit nicely like the girls?’. It has been said these phrases tend to slip off the tongue. It has even led to boys saying that they are more likely to pick out girls as high achievers.

Setting and streaming is one more internal factor that is linked to affecting achievement. Sets refer to the subject ability based groups and streams refer to groups of students taught for all subjects in the same ability group-they are both forms of labelling. Some studies show that girls and boys are divided into different groups purely because of their gender. One subject that is acceptable is Physical Education of course but, considering that this is only one subject, it can clearly be...
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