Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Girls, Boys, and Reading :: Brookings

2015 Brown Center
Report on American Education:
How Well Are American Students Learning?
Girls, boys, and reading
Brookings: 3.24.2015 by Tom Loveless

Part I of the 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education.

Girls score higher than boys on tests of reading ability.  They have for a long time.  This section of the Brown Center Report assesses where the gender gap stands today and examines trends over the past several decades.  The analysis also extends beyond the U.S. and shows that boys’ reading achievement lags that of girls in every country in the world on international assessments.  The international dimension—recognizing that U.S. is not alone in this phenomenon—serves as a catalyst to discuss why the gender gap exists and whether it extends into adulthood.

Explanations for the Gender Gap
The analysis below focuses on where the gender gap in reading stands today, not its causes.  Nevertheless, readers should keep in mind the three most prominent explanations for the gap.  They will be used to frame the concluding discussion.

Biological/Developmental:  Even before attending school, young boys evidence more problems in learning how to read than girls.  This explanation believes the sexes are hard-wired differently for literacy.

School Practices: Boys are inferior to girls on several school measures—behavioral, social, and academic—and those discrepancies extend all the way through college.  This explanation believes that even if schools do not create the gap, they certainly don’t do what they could to ameliorate it.

Cultural Influences: Cultural influences steer boys toward non-literary activities (sports, music) and define literacy as a feminine characteristic.  This explanation believes cultural cues and strong role models could help close the gap by portraying reading as a masculine activity.  READ MORE !

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