Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Claim That Gender Differences in Educational Achievement Are Primarily the 'Result of Changes in Society'

1188 Words Feb 20th, 2013 5 Pages
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that gender differences in educational achievement are primarily the 'result of changes in society'

Some sociologists claim that gender differences in achievement are the result of external factors such as changes in wider society, e.g. The impact of feminist ideas and changing employment opportunities (as stated in Item A). However, this could also be an outcome of internal factors such as the education system becoming 'feminised', which could have impacted the performance of girls achievement, as it has risen at a faster rate at some levels and in some subjects. Some sociologists also argue that the media have exaggerated the extent and nature of any problem.

External
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These changes are affecting girls' attitudes towards education in a number of ways as increased numbers of female-headed lone-parent families may mean more women need to take on the major 'bread winner' role. This further creates a new financially independent, career-minded role model for girls. The need for good qualifications is made very clear and the girls aspirations tend to require academic effort. Becky Francis points out that boys are more likely to have career aspirations that are not only unrealistic but often require few formal qualifications, e.g. professional footballer.

Evidence suggests that girls are more likely to spend their leisure time in ways which compliment their education and contribute to educational achievements. Mitsos and Browne place considerable emphasis on reading. Women are more likely to read than men, and mothers are more likely than fathers to read to their children. Therefore girls are more likely to have same-sex role models to encourage them to read. Poor language and literacy skills are likely to affect boys' performance across a wide range of subjects.

Whilst there are factors outside school, internal factors also impact gender differences in educational achievements hugely. According to Tony Sewell, boys fall behind in education because schools have become more 'feminised', as indicated in Item A. This means that feminine traits such as methodical working and attentiveness have

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