Gender differences in educational achievement

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Sheree Gibb, David Ferguson, and L. John Horwood collaborate in this article to explore the achievement levels of males and females in order to determine if the levels differ based on student gender. Currently, "educational statistics have indicated that females are outperforming males at all levels of the school system, attaining more school and post-school qualifications, and attending university in higher numbers" (p. 63). The authors discuss various theories that may explain the presence of achievement variations between genders. They cite theories that focus on biological factors, gender theory, and school factors as having possible links to gender differences in academics. The authors present their own research, building upon prior studies conducted by various researchers, in order to determine the size of the gender gap, the role of classroom behavior as a mitigating factor, and the extent to which social factors modify the gender gap (p. 66). The authors use a large sample group of students and follow them from the age of eight until the age of twenty-five. They utilize many different instruments, dependent on the ages of their sample participants, in order to gather data on each focus area. These instruments include various assessments and surveys that provide the authors with details concerning ethnicity, educational attainment, classroom behavior, socialization, and academic achievement status.

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During discussion of the data analysis, Gibbs, et.al found a "pervasive tendency for females to outperform males on measures of educational achievement" (p. 73). They point out that "a male disadvantage in educational achievement was evident by age eight, and continued through age twenty-five" (p. 74). The authors found no support for a difference in cognitive ability as an acting factor leading to the gender gap (p. 74).

This is a long term research project that studies a very large sample group. Like all research, it has its strengths and weaknesses. The authors explain "the strength of this study is that it provides a life course perspective of educational achievement, with measures from middle childhood through young adulthood" (p. 76). However, they also detail a limitation in that the sample participants all attended school in New Zealand during a period in which there was a very strong focus on tackling female educational underachievement.

I feel that the authors do a great job of considering previous research concerning the apparent gender gap and utilizing their own experiences and the data collected to expand on the topic. In my experience as teacher, I feel that it is apparent that behavior in the classroom has an effect on the academic achievement of all students and may indeed play a large role in widening the gender gap. I definitely feel that this research provides a solid basis for exploring whether or not single-gender classrooms may help close the achievement gap between males and females.

#2

Stanford, P., & Reeves, S. (2005). Assessment that drives instruction. Council for Exceptional Children, 37, 18-22.

This particular article is written by two professors from William Carey University. With inclusion being such a large part of education today, teachers are really having to examine others ways of teaching and assessing in their classrooms. So many regular education teachers are stumped when it comes to teaching children with special needs. These authors provide suggestions that may help regular, as well as special, education teachers tweak their educational decisions when working with all children. This is an article that provides argument for using assessment to drive instruction. One point is that it is not uncommon for teachers to test objectives where the particular content may not even have been taught. It is also noted by the authors that tailoring instruction to individuals is necessary to provide support of individual progress for children with special needs (someone who has an Individual Education Program (IEP)). It is now required by law that there is to be documentation for children's progress (especially those who have an IEP). These authors also provide information and examples for rubrics, T-Charts, and checklists. This information is provided to help teachers understand there are more ways to assess than simply using pencil-paper type traditional tests. There is a wonderful rubric for creative writing that is provided. This is a great example for teachers to use, and teachers can change the format to fit their own needs. A sample

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T-chart and checklist concerning cafeteria behavior are provided. Again, teachers can change the formats to fit their own needs. The authors note, "Assessment must be derived from instruction" (p. 22). They also end by writing that, "The assessment process must move to learner-centered methods, because learners need to clearly understand the task and understand how the teacher will assess the task" (p. 22). This article is actually less than four pages of text and would no longer be allowed by the terms of the rubric used for this class for what is necessary for articles to be included it the annotated bibliography, however, there is the very real possibility that I would make an exception for this particular article.

This is a very helpful article for anyone in education. It provides useful information and is referenced. It is an easy article to read and provides a great deal of information in a succinct fashion. I have worked with Dr. Pokey Stanford and with Dr. Stacy Reeves. This is a wonderful article they put published and I can say that without prejudice even though I know and respect them in the field. I know they are exceptional educators of teachers and prospective teachers. I would certainly recommend this article to anyone involved in education and perhaps to parents as well.

Remember to make sure that it is at least 1 ½ pages long and NO MORE than 2 full pages. You can expand with the last paragraph. I really do want to know what you think of the reading. I also want you to know that this is where you can use first person since it is your opinion and/or critique and recommendation.