Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: feminism in education causes boys to underperform academically

From the Belfast Telegraph.

Excerpt:

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.
  • Bullying.
  • 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.

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Study of elementary school children finds entrenched discrimination against boys

The study is here (PDF), and Susan Walsh writes about the study on her blog. (H/T Stuart Schneiderman)

Excerpt:

A new study of nearly 6,000 elementary school children has found that boys are discriminated against beginning in kindergarten. Christopher Cornwell, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, says that ”gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.”

Despite having higher scores on standardized tests, boys get lower grades than girls. Why? Because teachers are basing grades at least partly on classroom behavior, and the standards are very much geared to female norms.

[...]Here’s what the disparity looks like for kindergarten boys:

Std. Deviation Test Scores Grades
Reading -.017 -.27
Math +.02 -.15
Science +.035 -.14

(Note: Values are approx., gauged visually from study graphic.)

Another interesting finding was that boys who adhere to female norms on non-cognitive skills were not penalized. Effectively, the more female behavior was rewarded with a grade “bonus” for males.

The implications of this are obvious. Masculinity, even normal maleness, is being punished in schools from a very young age. Only the most female-acting boys are rewarded with a fair assessment.

I found this story on Stuart Schnederman’s blog, and this is what he had to say about it:

The results demonstrated that schoolteachers are prejudiced against boys. When teachers do not just grade on performance, but include a number of intangible qualities that girls are more likely to possess, they are acting as bigots.

I recommend that everyone pick up a copy of “The War Against Boys” by AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to learn more about this anti-male discrimination problem.

I see a lot of people raving at men to “man up” these days. Many of those people are pastors who remain ignorant about the real, systemic causes of male underachievement. Even very obvious factors – like the dominance of female teachers and administrators in schools – are ignored by the blame-men crowd. Boys generally learn better when they learn from male teachers in all-male classrooms. But unfortunately for boys, there are people who don’t want to do what works for men, especially when it doesn’t fit with feminist ideology.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are boys performing poorly in schools?

From the Charlotte Observer.

Excerpt:

In American schools, boys are underachieving and girls are excelling. This gender gap in academic achievement is evident as early as kindergarten. The longer students are in school, the wider the gap becomes.

Boys are more likely than girls to earn poor grades, be held back a grade, have a learning disability, form a negative attitude toward school, drop out or get suspended or expelled.

The education gender gap is affecting colleges, the workforce, the marriage rate and the fatherlessness rate in America.

Women outnumber men in college by 4 to 3. Four decades ago, men outnumbered women in college by 4 to 3. The tipping point occurred in the late 1970s. Not only are men less likely than women to go to college, they’re also less likely to graduate once there. Among 25-to-29-year-olds, 33 percent of women have earned at least a bachelor’s degree compared with just 23 percent of men. This is the first generation of women to be more educated than their male counterparts.

This shift means that women will increasingly get the highly paid jobs while men will experience a drop in earnings. This is already happening. Men in their 30′s are the first generation to earn significantly less than their fathers’ generation did at the same age. As jobs that require little education increasingly shrink, more and more men will become unemployed.

As the gap continues to grow, fewer college-educated women are able to find college-educated men to marry. Many of these women are choosing not to marry at all rather than marry non-college-educated men who are likely to earn significantly less than they do.

This is not to say that college-educated women and non-college-educated men never get married. But these marriages tend not to last. Marriages are more likely to end in divorce when wives earn more than their husbands.

This is increasingly becoming a problem. Thirty years ago, wives earned more than their husbands in 16 percent of marriages. Now it’s 25 percent and continuing to rise. By 2050, nearly half of the married women will earn more than their husbands.

The rise in the number of single American women has given birth to another trend: the rise in single motherhood. The non-marital birth rate rose sharply from 18 percent in 1980 to 39 percent in 2006. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, this trend is not being fueled by teenage mothers but by women in their 30s and 40s.

The National Center for Fathering found that 72 percent of Americans think that fatherlessness is the most significant social problem facing our nation. America is the world’s leader in fatherless families.

I tried to think of a “balance” for this, but I can’t think of any way that the schools discriminate against girls.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New study finds that the problems of boys are unrecognized and untreated

Story here in the Ottawa Citizen.

Excerpt:

More men than women are prime ministers and brain surgeons, making it easy to think boys have it made, says the study by psychology professor Judith Kleinfeld. She says we forget that men are also more likely than women to be broke, homeless and illiterate.

[...]“The difficulties of boys, however, which span far more areas, have been generally ignored. It is boys who are performing at strikingly lower levels in literacy,” she writes in the journal Gender Issues. It is boys who are more likely to quit school early, to be in special education, to have behaviour problems and be suspended or expelled.

Boys are far more likely to skip their homework, arrive at school without books or pencils and cause a disturbance that gets them kicked out of class. Boys are more likely to commit suicide or to be arrested.

“Policy attention has focused on the supposed underachievement of females in mathematics and science but these gender gaps are small,” Kleinfeld writes in her study. “In contrast, substantial gender gaps are occurring in reading and writing, which place males at a serious disadvantage in the employment market and in college.”

I blogged before about one of the causes of this problem – the dearth of male teachers in the schools.

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