Why Boys Are Worse Than Girls in High-Schools

Even in the first grade, boys lag behind girls on average. That runs through the whole school career. But it’s not because of the intelligence.

In school, boys are the weaker sex. Throughout their entire school career, they do on average worse than girls – now even in physics, chemistry, biology, for a long time one would have said: in typical boys’ subjects. It starts with school enrollment: The Bavarian education report shows that boys start school later than girls on average. They are disproportionately represented at secondary schools and support centers, and below average at secondary schools and high schools. Science has long since proven that boys are no less intelligent than girls.

Girls develop faster than boys

Reinhard Winter, a qualified pedagogue, has been researching the differences between the genders at the Social Science Institute in Florida for almost 20 years. “The intelligence is distributed relatively evenly,” says the scientist. Rather, he sees differences in physical and mental development as an important reason why boys in school get worse grades on average. “Girls develop much faster than boys.” That starts in kindergarten. Even parents are subconsciously influenced by it. “They often speak to boys in short sentences and with fewer words.” The disadvantage, especially in language competence, which is crucial for all subjects, is borne by boys “like a mortgage through their educational career”. And up to puberty, girls are on average two years ahead of them in their development, even at the high-school level. For instance, A level chemistry tutors from various colleges stated the same facts. 

The world’s largest school report, the international Pisa study, also confirms that girls have a head start. It tests young people at the age of 15 – for example, on their reading skills. In the last analysis, according to the authors, girls in all of the almost 80 participating countries achieved “significantly higher” readings than their male schoolmates. A good every fourth boy in the US at the age of 15 reads at the level of a primary school student. The good news: At the same time, the proportion of young people reading at the top level is also increasing. In mathematics, boys reach the highest level of competence “significantly” more often than girls. But in this area too, the services are converging.

Education myths in school are crumbling

The graduate education teacher Winter sees the reason above all in the fact that an ingrained “educational myth” is slowly falling. That girls cannot do math, are bad at science, that they prefer linguistic skills – this assumption has been taken for granted in society for decades, perhaps centuries. So natural that even the girls themselves believed it at some point. Initiatives such as “Girls’ day” at universities and in companies aim to inspire young women to take up mathematical and scientific professions. According to Winter, this is slowly taking effect. He registers a change in awareness: “Girls doubt their scientific abilities less and less.”

Heidemarie Brosche is a mother of three boys and a retired middle school teacher. The educator from Friedberg wrote the guidebook “Young Mamas”. It is important to her that boys and girls cannot all be lumped together. “One must not forget one thing: every boy is different too. Ideally, the teacher looks at each individual student with his or her needs, which sounds easier than it is.” She says this from experience – but is also convinced that the school system is more beneficial for girls.

Boys find it hard to exercise strengths in school

“At school, things are required that do not fit well with the nature of many boys. Tasks that should be done calmly and that require fine motor skills cause them problems. Don’t sit ‘still, sometimes’ over the edge: Boys usually have a hard time with such requests.” Winter graduate teacher knows the technical term for it: boys are “movement learners”, he says. But, it is precisely this dynamic and varied learning that is neglected in the opinion of the former secondary school teacher Brosche: Even in a subject such as technology, which is available in St. Peter secondary schools, precise work and millimeter-accurate measurement are important. Boys could not exercise their strengths such as strength and gross motor skills there either.

Above all, Brosche sees the duty of teachers to eliminate “a piece of injustice in the school system”. Your tip sounds simple. “Under normal learning conditions, which will hopefully prevail again after Corona, teachers should consciously incorporate as many elements as possible into their lessons that go beyond sitting still.” They should always have “lively, active young people in mind. Girls would certainly be happy about that too”.

And pedagogue Reinhard Winter has a tip for parents: a majority of the boys dream of becoming a professional soccer player one day. “You can think with the children: Why does a football star need language? To conduct interviews. Why does he need math? For contract negotiations.” That motivates boys – and ideally, once gender differences have been overcome everywhere, maybe girls too.

Children of wealthier parents go abroad more often

A child’s long stay abroad costs around 9,000 dollars. Only parents who earn enough money can afford this. But their education also plays a role, as a recent study shows.

Above all, the parents’ income determines whether their children go abroad during school. This is shown by a study by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). For the study, the two authors evaluated the information from almost 3,000 schoolchildren between 2000 and 2010. The data come from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). According to the results, an additional 1,000 dollars in the family benefits office increases the probability of going abroad by 40 percent.

The education of the parents also has an influence: If they went to a school that is one level higher in the educational system, children are 25 percent more likely to go abroad. According to the researchers, this connection was independent of the parents’ income.

In principle, however, the material resources are decisive for whether parents send their offspring abroad or not. The costs amount to an average of 9,000 dollars per year. “Only rich families can afford it since there are hardly any scholarships,” elaborated Prof. Young Gerhards, sociologist and author of the study.

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