The gender gap in school performance is widening every year

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By: Maria Alejandra Pulgar

Para leer in Spanish

The gap in academic achievement between boys and girls has slowly widened each year, and the impact of the pandemic on student retention has only made the situation worse. It is a matter of national concern that requires the attention of parents and all communities.

An article published in early September on this subject in the Wall Street Journal cites data from the Census, the National Student Clearinghouse, the US Department of Education and other organizations, all consistent in describing that each year more women apply to the. university than men, they enroll and graduate. This also occurs at the secondary level, where the dropout rate is higher for men.

The reasons for this include the need to financially support their families, lack of attention to learning difficulties, mental health issues, cost of higher education institutions, interest in pursuing business ventures. and, in many cases, family and cultural paradigms.

Much has been said about empowering and protecting the right to education of women and girls around the world, which is undoubtedly a global priority to ensure equality of income, opportunity and quality. of life, and which is still light years away. However, it is important that, in the process, communities also address the issues that male students also face; it will enable all parts of society to get the tools they need to improve and thrive, which in turn will help communities to thrive.

The stake in figures

According to the recent census (2020), the national population aged 18 to 25 is almost evenly distributed (51% men, 49 women). Of those 30.4 million Americans, 13.7% of men have not completed high school, compared to 10.4% of women. In the population aged over 25 (nearly 225 million people), 20% of men have not obtained a university degree and 12% have not completed secondary school; in this segment, women have similar figures (20% have not completed college and 10% high school). It should be noted, however, that average salary projections are still nearly $ 10,000 higher for men than for women, regardless of their level of education.

Locally, although there is no data available for the 2020-2021 school year (pandemic year), high school graduation rates for the 2019-2020 school year reflect the observation at the national level.

Graduation statistics for high schools serving the Doral region (Reagan / Doral Senior, Doral Academy and School of Advanced Studies) are higher, 98.7% on average, compared to 89.6% for Miam County as a whole. Dade. Nonetheless, there was still a graduation rate of 99% for women and 98% for men. In addition to these rates, there were also more female students in the top 5% of their class, in leadership roles such as honor societies and class representation, and also as nominees for the Silver Knight Award.

Keys for school preparation and retention

Studies conducted in recent years by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have examined developmental differences between the sexes, the importance of early childhood attention to learning difficulties in preparation for school, and educational methods and approaches to keep children engaged in school using all of their talents for success.

The results of these studies concluded that women show more “fluency, speed of perception, precision and fine motor skills, while men outperform them in terms of spatial ability, working memory and math.” Motivation is also an important factor “Male students tend to be performance oriented, motivated by the desire to outdo their peers; while female students tend to be more motivated by a master’s orientation, wanting to increase their skills and competences and master new subjects.

Addressing differences in learning style in the classroom is key to keeping all students engaged and determined to achieve the ultimate goal of completing their education. Continuous improvement of academic methods at all levels is crucial to reverse and close the educational gap between boys and girls.

Families influence academic success

“Historically, studies show that boys were more likely to hold leadership positions in schools and to graduate with higher rates. However, in recent years there has been such a push for more girls to own their educational future and understand the limitless potential they have in any future career, that they have most certainly stepped up their efforts. The number of young women in leadership positions is quite visible and their graduation rates have increased markedly, ”commented Dr. Belinda Leon, Academic Advisor at the Downtown Doral Charter Upper School.

“However, I have seen an equal number of boys and girls who fall into these categories. Maybe the difference is because we live in a ‘wealthy’ city? Maybe it’s because we have some of the highest education levels among Miami Dade County parents? The Hispanic origin of most Doral residents may also be a factor, ”Leon said.

The involvement of parents and guardians, especially in high school, is vital to encourage students, regardless of gender, to explore higher education opportunities and continue to motivate them towards leadership, graduation and the pursuit of degrees or certifications that may broaden their opportunities in the future.


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