NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED518173
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Exploring the "Boy Crisis" in Education
Cappon, Paul
Canadian Council on Learning
The issue of the "boy gap" or "boy crisis" in education has been the subject of increasing attention across a number of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Given the importance of this issue and the need to better understand the situation in boys' education, this report draws on material and data from a review of websites, research reports and relevant data sources, as well as informal consultations with some official and expert sources, to scope out four main questions: (1) What is the situation regarding education and training participation and results for boys and men throughout the OECD, including post-secondary education and trades?; (2) Are there policies and practices in place to attenuate unfavourable trends?; (3) What are Canadian jurisdictions doing?; (4) What do individuals know about the success and failure of various models OECD-wide with a focus on Germany, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom? Evidence of effectiveness of particular models or interventions is not easy to find. While frustrating, this is perhaps not surprising in light of the fact that the central question of the meaning and implications of this "boy gap" is freighted with complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty--and not a little controversy. A major meta-analysis of thousands of studies on the contribution of various factors affecting student achievement concludes that gender differences account for an impact of only 0.12 of a standard deviation, which raises the question of "why we are so constantly immersed in debates about gender differences in achievement--they are just not there." In other words, the similarities between males and females are much more striking than the differences, and, "overall, the differences between males and females should not be of major concern to educators. There is more variance within groups of boys and within groups of girls than there are differences between boys and girls." On the basis of this very quick, and admittedly non-comprehensive, review of materials from several jurisdictions on the topics identified, the "boy crisis" as a label, therefore, seems to be a potentially useful entry point into examination of a number of societal, cultural, educational, economic and labour-market issues of importance. But it should be viewed as just that--an entry point--highlighting the need for more nuanced and disaggregated attention to be paid to the various kinds of interventions that might be helpful in "attenuating" problematic outcomes for boys--or, more precisely, for particular sub-populations of boys. (Contains 4 tables and 63 footnotes.)
Canadian Council on Learning. c/o University of Ottawa, 50 Laurier East Suite 108, Ottawa, ON K1N 1H7, Canada. Tel: 613-569-7600; Fax: 613-569-6129; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Canadian Council on Learning
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Canada; Germany; United Kingdom; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment