In this essay I will be looking at and explaining the strengths and weaknesses of explanations of why girls have improved in education. I will be taking into consideration that there are divisions within social groups and not all girls achieve or do the same. For example middle class girls will achieve higher marks than working class girls, Asian girls will achieve higher marks than white girls, and Bangladeshi girls and boys will always do worse than any other social group. This means that depending on your class and ethnicity, this will determine how well you do in education.
Statistics have shown that in 1975 only 7% of males and 9% of females obtained 5 or more A* to C grades, whereas in 1991 another survey was taken out and they found that percentages have improved with both genders, 13% of males and 17% of females achieved 5 or more A* to C grades. Studies have shown that since GCSE’s have been introduced that girls have been able to show what they are able to do, what they know and what they understand. This is an easy way of proving themselves and living up to their full potential.
Also coursework seems to be in favour towards girls achievements, this is because girls put more effort into their work meaning that they will come out with a higher grade because of this. Now these days national curriculum has improved and because of these vital improvements, common core subjects have been created. This is an example of why girls have improved in education because there have been subjects such as health and social care created, which is female oriented, this is because it is about caring about people which is a more female emotion.
Single sex classes have been introduced, this has many benefits towards girls achieving higher grades in education such as, if their class is a single sex class then that means that the teacher has to be a female as well, because of this girls will be provided with a positive role model (their teacher), also because there is no males in the classroom girls can show their full potential towards their work and they can show more confidence and more effort towards their work, instead of being distracted by the ‘clowns of the class’ (boys).
Although this is not an explanation, I believe the following, in the future will start to benefit girls improvements in education, GIST (girls into science and technology) is where visits from female scientist happen, schools let this happen because this is an example of positive role models, although at the moment this has not improved girls status or grades in school. Because of social shifts, employment opportunities for females have risen meaning that female will be more keen and have higher expectation in getting a job, so they will try harder to get high grades and put more effort into getting them.
Because of these higher expectations females tend to focus more on getting a good job and having a good role in life rather than having a family at an early age. Now the average age for a women giving birth is 29 years old compared to an earlier age before then 1986 improvement for girls in education. Sharpe (1994), carried out a second study at this point and found that she agreed with the above evidence; that girls do focus more on their career, education and work. Wilkinson (1994) also agrees with this evidence.
However there is another side to this argument, girls could be improving in school because of the fact that boys are now under achieving. They are now underachieving because they are spending less and less time studying for exam, I believe this is because of peer pressure and they don’t want to be labelled as a ‘swot’, Peter Woods also believes that boys underachieving also has something to do with peer pressure. Also boys have an area of jobs that do not really require good qualifications, such as plumbing, painters and decorators.
It is also a proven fact that girls can concentrate for longer periods of time so they will be able to get more work done in this time and put more effort into their work, rather than boys. OFSTED (1996) found that distractions in the class were responsible for children underachieving in their GCSE’s. Boys are the main distraction in a classroom for both genders and themselves; the result of this is that everybody does not reach their full potential.
After analysing all the above evidence I believe that girls have improved in education because of all the new advantages that are now available to girls such as the introduction of GCSE’s and coursework, although as well as this I believe males are also gradually getting worse at school because there are too many distractions around, this means that males are actually underachieving, and this makes females look like they are improving even more in education.
Although these drastic improvement have only started to occur since 1986 but I believe that these improvements will carry on getting better and better. At the moments there are divisions between social groups and not all girls achieve the same, although I believe that one-day most girls will take advantage of the help around them and they will reach their full potential.