Gender And The Achievement Gap Essay

2042 words - 9 pages

Running Head: The Gender Achievement Gap 1

The Gender Achievement Gap
Clint Overstreet


The No Child Left Behind Act requires that states bring students up to the "proficient" level on state tests and individual schools have to meet state “adequate yearly progress.” This mandate targets not only all “typical” students, but students from all demographics. With this factor of accountability, as well as school success, many researchers have studied the gap in educational achievement and how these gaps can be lessened. The most noted gaps in academic success include the areas of gender, socioeconomic status, race, ...view middle of the document...

girls spend more time reading and tend to be more interested in language and literacy.” Supporting this theory, researchers from the University of Michigan (Chavez) found that parents (unintentionally) tend to provide their male children with toys and books that are math and science related. Society’s views on gender behavior is evident for example as parents and children alike are guilty of being more accepting of a female student displaying emotion while reading or writing of piece of literature. However, a male student could be ridiculed or teased by peers by displaying the same emotions.
Additionally, University of Michigan researchers found that educational providers also tend to play a role in the discrepancy between male and female academic performance. Researchers found that educators “unknowingly” expect male students to answer questions within the classroom. Teachers often provide male students with motivation to “compete” with other students. This motivation lends to the innate need of males to dominate and succeed.
In contrast teachers unintentionally tend to motivate female students to be more “creative” and therefore push them more in the academic area of reading and writing. Society often depicts creative play, interest in writing and reading as attributes which girls possess. In maintaining the masculine theme society has embedded, many boys are not encouraged to participate or expected to excel in this subject area.

Society and culture not only play a part in the differences in academic achievement between male and female students but also in the expectations in acceptable behavior. Families and society tend to expect and accept that boys will be more rambunctious and energetic. Often
male students tend to become more easily distracted, have difficulty sitting still in their seats, more energetic, and are notably more vocal than female students. These characteristics are often discussed by educators and families and it tends to be accepted “boyish” behavior. On the other hand, females are likely expected and encouraged to behave “lady-like”. Only if considered a “tomboy” should girls be loud and rowdy. Rather, females are much more quiet and subdued than their male counterparts.
Many educators have also voiced concern regarding the distraction caused by same sex students attending classes together. Studies completed by Forgasz and Janelle (2012) in the area of mathematics found that although both male and female students attending single sex schools scored higher than those schools with both male and female students, male students obtained higher scores in comparison to female students also attending same sex schools. The same study also noted that while the difference in all scores were higher than same sex schools the majority of the schools studied were private schools in which a tuition was mandatory for attendance. Although not included in the subject of this paper considering...

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