Friday, August 20, 2010

Ireland: Why do girls outscore boys in the Leaving Cert?

This is a question that has baffled educationalists for years. In Leaving Cert 2010 the only subjects where boys scored more honours ABC grades on higher-level papers were Latin, applied maths, engineering, religious education, economics and Japanese. Quite frankly there is no one reason to explain the failure of boys to match the girls in the educational stakes. It is more likely to be a combination of the following reasons:
  • In co-educational schools boys generally tend to lose out to girls. It is quite common for boys to seek to impress the girls by acting in a disruptive manner. The consequences of this are noticeable even in Mathematics. Traditionally boys fared better in Mathematics. Unfortunately this is no longer the case.

  • Boys are generally less mature than girls. This is biological and is unlikely to change.

  • Generally boys are more interested in sport. A far higher percentage of boys participate actively in sport. This involves school sports competitions but also local club competitions. This often necessitates after school training sessions. In addition club training at night is quite common. Club competitions may take place over weekends or at night. Consequently a high percentage of male students free time is eaten up. Girls in general spend much less time on sporting activities.

  • Sport on television is also a major impediment to progress for young males. Sky Sports, RTE, Setanta provide a breathtaking array of live sporting activities such as Soccer on weekday nights. Many male students are drawn to these and neglect exercises and study on such nights.

  • Girls tend to have a better work ethic and tend to be more conformist.

  • Girls are generally more interested in attending college.

  • In poorer working class areas many boys feel alienated. The education system is seen as part of the hated establishment.

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