There are many reasons why girls do better than boys in education attainment. It is proven that boys mature later than girls and that girls are often ahead in language, it is said that at the age of 11 average boy is 9 months behind an average girl. Female expectation and behaviour also contribute to the fact that statistically girls are doing better than boys and I will now develop and assess some of these factors. Women expectations and needs have changed over time.
Sue Sharpe have carried a survey in 1976 discovering that girls priorities were love and family over career and education however the research was repeated in 1994, she then found out that those have changed to job and careers above all other priorities. This might be an explanation of why girls achieve better results as it shows that education is their priority and they are motivated to gain good qualifications in order to succeed in their future careers. Francis and Skelton go further to argue that girls saw their careers as reflecting their identity and fulfilment.
Along with growth in job opportunities for women and rise in their ambitions it have led to an overall increase in motivation to gain educational qualifications. Therefore it is easier for girls to do good at school as they have all the motivation and attitude needed to gain good grades. However this research might be out-dated and female expectations are constantly changing, they are also dependent on the characteristics and culture therefore white female expectations may differ from those of a Asian women. Sue Sharpe, Francis and Skelton do not take into consideration individuals or cultural deprivation.
This female motivation and attitude leads to another explanation of why girls do better than boys. There is evidence to show that female behaviour differs from those of males . It is proven that on average girls work harder and are more motivated, this might be sue to their expectations. Girls put more effort into their work and are more willing to spend more time on homework which is better presented and organized. Burns and Bracey found out that boys unlike girls were not prepared to draft and redraft their work and were more of a opinion that work should only be done at school.
This difference in behaviour explains why girls do better than boys however does not take into consideration that some boys do work hard and gain better qualifications than some of the girls, it also ignores class differences and the fact that often boys from middle class do better than girls from working class backgrounds. Different behaviour also leads to different leisure time, boys relate to their peers by being active and by ‘doing’ whereas girls relate to one another by talking. Research done by Hannan (2000) shows that this puts girls in advantage as it improves their language schools which helps them at school.
Boys also suffer from peer group pressure and see asking for help as a sign of weakness. Girls on the other hand are very keen to ask for help as well as help each other. This explains why girls achieve better results as they are advantaged from the start And are more likely to gain a better understanding by asking teachers for help. Kirby (2000) have also suggested that DVD, TV and video games have replaced communicative play and therefore reduced opportunity for boys to catch up with girls in their language development.
However there are girls who prefer to relate to their peer by being active rather than through talking and there are girls that play video games as well as boys. Sociologist did not consider that we cannot say that one group behaves in a certain way just because of their gender and must understand that every pupil is different even though they may have common characteristics. While focusing on gender sociologists should also consider class differences. It is said that class is the most significant factor influencing educational attainment, it has five times the effect of gender.
Girls and boys from middle class are more likely to do better than working class pupils of both gender. It is due to the fact that working class students often suffer from material deprivation. Material deprivation is lack of money leading to disadvantages such as unhealthy diet and satisfactory housing. Families from these backgrounds are often unable to afford text books, class room materials and so on. This leads to barriers in learning and results in students falling behind in their school work.
Therefore it is not only gender but also class that effects the educational attainment of both girls and boys. However issues of class differences tend to blame poverty for poor educational attainment when the real reason might be poor teaching and parenting. Along with gender and class differences ethnicity has also a major influence on achievement in education. Statistically according to a report by Babb et al (2004) children who are most likely to be low educational achievers in England are those from a low socio-economic backgrounds and those with parents who have low or no qualifications.
Pupils from ethnic minorities feel undervalued and demotivated by an educational system that does not recognize their qualities based on their class and ethnic culture. Boys and girls from ethnic minorities are disadvantage by the fact that their parents have little experience of the British education system. This shows that not only gender but also ethnic backgrounds effect educational attainment therefore we cannot say that girls better performance is only due to gender differences.
However the ethnicity as a reason of underachievement is too generalized as ethnic minorities include many different groups and does not take into account class and gender differences within those groups therefore it is almost impossible to understand the complexities of cultural differences and their influence on educational achievement. Gender with no doubt has its influence in gaining qualifications however it is not always the case as educational achievement is effected by class and ethnic differences at the same time.
In my opinion class differences is the major issues in educational attainment as money play a big role in everyone’s lives in modern society. Pupils therefore are effected by their lack of money and the structure of education system which requires them to own for example a computer in order to do well. However it is wrong to assume that all boys or all working class students are underachieving as it is down to an individual’s choice and attitude, if a person is motivated and determined to do well then there are no gender or class barriers.