Gender Differences at Uni Prompt Calls for More Targeted Student Support

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

Gender Differences at Uni Prompt Calls for More Targeted Student Support


Byline: Katie Norman

MALE and female students need different kinds of support at university, a new study has suggested.

A study by researchers at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, (Uwic) found men and women take very different approaches to studying.

The three-year research programme, which explored the approach of psychology undergraduates, found that compared with their female contemporaries, male respondents had higher self-esteem, expected higher marks in exams and anticipated performing better than their fellow students.

Males described themselves as being less motivated and less organised than female students, but said they did not consider this a problem in terms of how they approach their studies.

The research, by Uwic psychology lecturers Dr Paul Sander, Lalage Sanders and Jenny Mercer, will be included in a paper to be published in the Psychology Teaching Review.

Dr Sander, principal lecturer in psychology, said: "We are accustomed to the very real gender differences in compulsory education but there will be many who are unaware that these continue in higher education.

"The study shows that there is some hard evidence to support the wealth of anecdotal evidence, that even at university level, male students and female students can take very different approaches to their studies.

"As with pre-tertiary education, male students may need focused support and guidance to help them to get the best out of their degree."

Across UK universities, female students achieve more "good" degrees of firsts and 2.1s than male students, while males are over represented in third and fail classifications.

This latest Uwic research did not show any marked difference in the exam performance of either males or females taking part in the study, but previous evidence has shown that male students do not do as well with coursework, and significantly more males failed to complete the course.

Dr Sander said the idea was sparked by informal discussions with colleagues about the differences between male and female students. …

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Gender Differences at Uni Prompt Calls for More Targeted Student Support
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