Girls lead boys in academic achievement globally

January 26, 2015
Girls lead boys in academic achievement globally
Geary determined that girls outperform boys in educational achievement in 70 percent of the countries they studied, regardless of the level of gender, political, economic or social equality.

Considerable attention has been paid to how boys' educational achievements in science and math compare to girls' accomplishments in those areas, often leading to the assumption that boys outperform girls in these areas. Now, using international data, researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland, have determined that girls outperform boys in educational achievement in 70 percent of the countries they studied—regardless of the level of gender, political, economic or social equality.

"We studied the educational levels of 1.5 million 15-year-olds from around the world using data collected between 2000 and 2010," said David Geary, Curators Professor of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU. "Even in countries where women's liberties are severely restricted, we found that girls are outperforming in reading, mathematics, and science literacy by age 15, regardless of political, economic, social or gender equality issues and policies found in those countries."

According to the data, boys fall behind girls in overall achievement across reading, mathematics, and science in 70 percent of the countries studied. Boys outperform girls in only three countries or regions: Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian state, Himachal Pradesh. Boys and girls had similar educational achievements in the United States and United Kingdom.

In countries known for relatively low gender equality ratings, such as Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, the gap is relatively large and favors girls.

The one exception worldwide is among students in economically developed nations where high achieving boys outperform high achieving girls, researchers said.

"With the exception of high-achievers, boys have poorer educational outcomes than girls around the world, independent of social equality indicators," said Gijsbert Stoet, reader in psychology at the University of Glasgow. "Results show that a commitment to gender equality on its own is not enough to close the achievement gaps in global education; the gap is not increasing. Although it is vital that we promote gender equality in schools, we also need to make sure that we're doing more to understand why these gaps, especially among boys, persist and what other policies we can develop to close them."

The study also has important implications for educational policy, the researchers said.

"The data will influence how policymakers think about the options available," said Geary. "For example, to increase levels of equal opportunities in education. We believe that policymakers and educators should not expect that broad progress in social equality will necessarily result in educational equality. In fact, we found that with the exception of high achievers, boys have poorer educational outcomes than girls around the world, independent of social equality indicators. Therefore, in order to effectively close the gaps in achievement, education policymakers should consider factors other than political, economic and social equality, and especially as related to boys' overall achievement and high-achieving ' interest in mathematics and science."

The study, "Sex differences in academic achievement are not related to political, economic or social equality," recently was published in the peer reviewed journal, Intelligence.

Explore further: International gender difference in math, reading scores persists regardless of gender equality

More information: Intelligence, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289614001688

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Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2015
Related to recent fMRI studies indication the brain activity pathways tween males and females?
Female think(electrically connect) latitudinally between hemispheres and males think longitudinally...
hmmmm...
chookhouserules
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2015
The focus on specialist female focused education programs in primary/secondary schools: taxpayer funded and designed to close a supposed gender disparity in maths/ science + technology. Needs to be revealed in research such as this. Boys, long regarded as slower/ less competent and achieving than girls in spelling, reading, writing and language skills: haven't been the recipient of equally taxpayer funded development focused classes as evidenced for girls. Latter in above areas. This obvious disparity urgently needs addressing asap.
Losik
Jan 26, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2015
girls are outperforming boys in reading, mathematics, and science literacy by age 15
This is true, until the interests of children will not specialize. After then girls lose touch with boys fast just in technical disciplines: http://www.theage...2n.html, computer programming, electronics & circuit design, music composition... It's not about lost of abilities, but the lost of motivation. IMO girls are biologically preprogrammed into despecialization in the same way, like boys are specializing above certain age.

Puberty and estrogen - the great equalizers...;-)
viko_mx
not rated yet Jan 28, 2015
Men are better at exact sciences and activities requiring three dimensional and abstract thinking, while women are better in the social and human sciences, and areas requiring track of several different activities simultaneously. Of course there are exceptions in both sexes, but they are not statistically significant.
sdrfz
3 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2015
girls are outperforming boys in reading, mathematics, and science literacy by age 15
This is true, until the interests of children will not specialize. After then girls lose touch with boys fast just in technical disciplines: http://www.theage...2n.html, computer programming, electronics & circuit design, music composition... It's not about lost of abilities, but the lost of motivation. IMO girls are biologically preprogrammed into despecialization in the same way, like boys are specializing above certain age.


That looks like unsupported speculation to me. Where is your science supporting such a conclusion? The article you mention is just a survey, and that's not science, and it doesn't support your claims about specialization. "Biologically pre-programmed" is a worthless claim without supporting facts.

Losik
Jan 28, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
daniel_faith_581
not rated yet Feb 02, 2015
Nothing new here. There are certain subjects where boys are undeniable leaders, but as long as there are more of Humanities subject, girls will be leaders. I even hear that boys are the ones who turn to college papers companies more often (here is just an example: http://essayonlinestore.com/ ). And I imagine there are way more services that help boy students to study. But with STEM becoming extremely popular you never know what results we will have some time soon.

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