Girls significantly surpass boys in reading exams – and they have been doing so worldwide for many decades. There were all potential reasons for this discrepancy in the absence of intent, inadequate vocabulary, low reading engagement and lack of role models.
However, the findings of recent international student assessments, called PISA, indicate the gap in worldwide reading is closing. But in most instances, it might not have been because of the reasons students, parents, scholars, or governments. It seems in reality that the differences are usually closed not because boys do any better, but because girls ‘success has declined.
It measures the readability, mathematics and science literacies of 15-year-old students across a number of OECD and partner countries and acts as the International Student Assessment Program for the OECD. The new 2018 PISA, the seventh since 2000, concentrated on reading and covered approximately 80 countries. In the last three PISA rounds – 2000, 2009 and 2018 – have focused researchers on evaluating nearly 20 years of patterns.
A Similar Phenomenon
Although girls are still much better than men, on average, the gender gap could be wrapped up, because girls are not as good as they used to be. The PISA test is structured such that the average student score is between 500 and 2/3 of participating students. The average boy score was lower among the 29 OECD countries with data on hand (479 points in 2000, 476 points in 2009, 475 points in 2018). The average girls ‘grades were higher than normal, 511 in 2000, 515 in 2009, and 505 in 2018.
Yet the averages hide significant variations in the learning processes of high performance and low children. For example, the results show that the performance of girls and boys decreased among low-level players – girls declined by 21 and boys by 13 points. On the other hand, the performance of boys and girls improved among high-level players and improved especially significantly within boys (12 points among boys and 3 among girls).
Such trends indicate more division between the lowest and highest girls, with the lowest girls in the wrong direction most dramatically.
How Does This occur?
Another potential explanation is the fact that the research has changed: before 2009, but was carried out on a computer in 2018, it was paper-based. Several studies have shown that children have improved results in some of the skills involved in reading digital texts and may be inspired to do well on computer exams.
Tendencies over time in who reads for enjoyment for how long do the evolution of reading success in various groups not seem to clarify. Changes in the amount of time spent reading for enjoyment were not related to changes in students ‘results.
In the same vein, while many parents and teachers are worried that internet usage decreases teens ‘willingness to engage in schoolwork – and that time spent by students on the internet grew between 2009 and 2018 – those classes that have increased their Internet use most are not those with the steepest declines in results.
Differences Between Various Countries
Despite this, several countries have succeeded in bridging the gender reading gap. All boys have improved their reading performance in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Slovenia and Sweden, while girls have improved or stayed stable (albeit much less than children).
The picture is blurred in the UK, however. The gender readability difference in the UK was smaller than the OECD-country average – in the UK, there were 20 points, whereas the OECD-wide average of 30. In Great Britain, on average boys improved while girls stabilized. Nevertheless, boys did not change enough to reduce the gender reading gap statistically significantly.
An overview of which kids were improved also shows that improvement in lecture output among mid and high-level kids was concentrated. Overall, however, significant changes in high-level girls were found. It shows the vulnerability of academic failure among the lowest performers – boys and girls alike.
The fact that these trends are so similar in a variety of countries indicates that the changes found are most likely due to a particular collection of cross-country issues.
Around the same time, it is reminiscent of local activities, policy decisions, and the work of individual educators that some school programs hamper the general trend. The fact that these can make a real difference and facilitate learning for boys. Closing this gap in readability remains a big global challenge however, it is obvious.