Internal factors affecting gender
difference in achievement
1 EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICIES
1.1 The people who run the system are more aware of gender issues and
believe that boys and girls are equally capable. This influences policies
such as WISE (Women Into Science and Engineering and GIST (Girls Into
Science and Technology). Policies like this encourage girls to pursue
careers in non-traditional areas. The introduction of the NATIONAL
CURRICULUM helped to remove some gender equality by making science
compulsory, equalising opportunities (KELLY). BOALER suggests that
because many barriers are removed and schooling has become more
meritocratic, girls who generally work harder, achieve more.
2 POSITIVE ROLE MODELS IN SCHOOL
2.1 ^ in the proportion of female teachers/headteachers. These
women having authority act as role models for girls because
they had to study for quite some time, showing them what
they could achieve and that goals can be non-traditional.
3 GCSE & COURSEWORK
3.1 GORARD found that the gender gap in achievement was fairly
constant until the year GCSE & coursework was introduced.
He concludes that the gender gap is a 'product of the changed
system of assessment rather than any ore general failing of
boys. MITSOS & BROWNE agree and found that girls are better
at coursework because they are more conscientious, better at
meeting dealines and spend more time on their work -
therefore, girls benefit. Greater use of oral exams also benefit
girls because they generally develop better language skills.
This may be due to the early gender role socialisation.
3.2 ELWOOD argues that after analysing the weighting of coursework
and written exams, exams have more influence on final grades.
4 TEACHER ATTENTION
4.1 Girls are generally more cooperative, so teachers respond more positively to
them. This could then lead to SFP, which then raises girls' self esteem and makes
them want to achieve more. FRENCH found that boys got more attention because
they had to be reprimanded more. FRANCIS found that boys were more harshly
disciplined and picked on by teachers, who had lower expectations (SFP). SWANN
found gender difference in communication styles - girls were more cooperative
and patient whereas boys could be quite hostile and like interrupting.
5 CHALLENGING STEREOTYPES IN THE CURRICULUM
5.1 WEINER argues that since the 1980s, teachers
have challenged stereotypes and in general, sexist
images have been removed from learning
materials. This presents a more positive image of
what women can do, thus inspiring girls at school.
6 SELECTION AND LEAGUE TABLE
6.1 JACKSON argues that league tables place a high value on
educational achievement and girls seem more attractive to good
schools whereas boys aren't. This could lead to SFP, since girls are
more likely to be recruited into a good school, they are more likely
to work hard and do well. SLEE argues that boys are less attractive
to schools because they are more likely to suffer from behavioural
difficulties and are 4x more likely to be excluded. Boys are seen as
'liability students and therefore they may not try as hard.
7 VIEWS ON GIRLS' ACHIEVEMENT
7.1 LIBERAL FEMINISTS - they
celebrate progress so far by
improving achievement. Further
progress will be made by the
continuing development of equal
opportunities. Similar to the
functionist view + meritocracy.
7.2 RADICAL FEMINISTS - the system remains patriarchal: sexual
harassment of girls continues in school, more male
headteachers, women are under-represented in the curriculum.