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ERIC Number: EJ801995
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 53
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
Within-School Gender Gaps in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy
Ma, Xin
Comparative Education Review, v52 n3 p437-460 Aug 2008
Gender gaps in academic achievement have long captured the attention of educational researchers. Although studies from laboratory experiments have reported relatively consistent gender differences in cognitive skills over the decades, investigations done in schools have uncovered dramatic changes. In the United States, educational studies from the 1930s and 1940s found no gender differences in reading. Later, in the 1960s, Arthur Gates (1961) showed that reading abilities of girls exceeded those of boys during elementary school. In the following decade, educational studies confirmed gender differences in favor of females in reading achievement across elementary grade levels. During the same period and into the 1980s, educational studies found at most small gender differences in favor of females at the secondary level. In mathematics, investigations before the 1980s suggested that there were few gender differences during the elementary grades, but that in middle school and especially in high school, boys outperformed girls. Similarly in science, prior to the 1980s boys were found to outperform girls, and this intensified as children progressed through the grades. Since the 1980s, gender differences in academic achievement have decreased or been reversed in the United States. Similar changes have also occurred in other parts of the developed world like in Great Britain. Are gender gaps in academic achievement universal? Or are they specific to the situations of students in particular countries? Large-scale international educational comparative studies provide opportunities for researchers to examine gender differences in educational attainment from a global standpoint. Using data from the 2000 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the author explores international variations in within-school gender gaps in three areas of academic proficiency: (1) reading; (2) mathematics; and (3) science. The author's emphasis on within-school gender differences reflects the importance of schools in maintaining or closing gender gaps in academic achievement. Controlling for individual and family characteristics, the author's present analysis shows how schools themselves may contribute to within-school gender differences in academic achievement. (Contains 4 tables and 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment