rebelraising: (mmmpolitics)
[personal profile] rebelraising
Every year, I get all confused about the gender gap in exam results. On the one hand, I want to be dismissive, because, despite the fact that girls do so much better, men still get paid more, and there does seem to be less attention paid to that. So, really, every time girls do better, whatever they're doing better at suddenly counts for nothing.

On the other hand, it's very bad that there is an education system that seems to systematically exclude boys from high achievement. Gender equality is gender equality.

Anyway, when they set up these scheme to "tackle boys' under-achievement", if they don't also set up schemes to "tackle" the fact that girls still get worse grades in maths and physics, we'll know exactly where the government is coming from.

the facts on maths

Date: 2002-08-22 02:56 am (UTC)
lysora: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lysora
Ah, but see right now they don't care about what grades either gender gets in maths & physics because no one seems to be doing it at all. In last year's AS maths, just less than 1 in 3 students failed. That lead to 28% of the AS maths students dropping the subject and not taking it to A level. That in turn lead to the percentage of students applying to do maths at university to fall by 11%. This year, they realised their mistakes and made the papers somewhat more manageable -- only just more than 1 in 5 students failed AS maths this year, but it was still one of the highest failure rates across the subjects.

And the whole reason behind maths getting harder? University professors complaining that students are arriving without having basic skills. I hope they're happy with the result they got from 'toughening up' the curriculum.

So, yeah, the point was that the government isn't going to "tackle" the gender issue with regards to maths & physics. They've got other problems and unfortunately you can't really blame them for wanting to deal with this first.

Re: the facts on maths

Date: 2002-08-22 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, yeah. Except that before they introduced new AS levels (and how annoyed am I that now nobody knows what my "old-style" AS levels are for?), girls still did worse in Maths and Physics, and there just wasn't the hand-wringing then, either.

But the general lack of people of either sex taking science is sad, and yes, you're totally right that it's probably the primary thing they need to deal with. (And my stepdaugter's off to study astrophysics at university in two weeks! Possibly the Scottish system has something to be said for it there...)

Date: 2002-08-22 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah, I remember way back when the government had all those initiatives to tackle girls' underperformance in schools...oh, wait, hang on, no I don't. Because that never happened.

And it's never mentioned that in schools down the bottom end of the league tables, boys still outperform girls, sometimes on a massive scale.

Date: 2002-08-22 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't know that! Why didn't I know that? So, so many ways to interpret those results, then: class and gender and concepts of "performance".

The 11-plus pass mark used to be higher for girls than boys, because too many girls passed...

Date: 2002-08-22 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, honestly, you didn't know that because I've only got anecdotal evidence. It's pretty compelling, though.

I didn't know that about the 11-plus (but then there are a lot of things I don't know about the 11-plus, including precisely what it is).

Date: 2002-08-22 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is/was the exam that sorted people into grammar schools and secondary moderns. Almost entirely gone, except in, I think, Northern Ireland and parts of Kent, where those kinds of schools still explicitly exist. Mind you, I can't really see the difference between that and "beacon schools" and "technology colleges" and whatever else that are allowed to select. One of many reasons why any children I might have will be educated in the Scottish system.

Date: 2002-08-22 09:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The 11-plus is still very much alive in all of Kent, thanks to the Tory fuckers that have run the county council down here since the year dot. Unlikely to be going anytime soon either (this is after all the county which decided to pass its own section 28 when they thought that the Government might repeal the old one in England). The system is quite nasty, and encourages a lovely culture of the comprehensive kids thinking they're the thick ones (making it very difficult to motivate them in the schools) and the grammar schools (as an institution if not the pupils) being very much up themselves. Also much trauma in families where one sibling goes to grammar and the other doesn't.

And then we have all the Catholic, CofE, and Methodist schools too...

Date: 2002-08-22 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I remember my distress when my best friend went to the 'Secondary Modern' and I went to 'Grammar' (fucking bizarre names for these institutions!). Especially when I realised I was stuck in a school with too many people who might've been better at IQ tests, but otherwise couldn't lick a stamp without being shown how.


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