'Quick Fix Will Not Close Gender Gap'

The Birmingham Post (England), August 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

'Quick Fix Will Not Close Gender Gap'


A Birmingham psychology expert has warned the Government against 'quick fix' tactics to close the attainment gap between boys and girls at GCSEs, writes SHAHID NAQVI This year's results show girls continuing to out-perform boys by nearly ten per cent, though the divide narrowed slightly -by 0.2 per cent.

The difference between the sexes has sparked concern among teachers and led to calls for the Government to do more to help boys catch up.

But Dr Christine Griffin, senior lecturer in social psychology at The University of Birmingham, said more needed to be known about the reasons behind the attainment gap before interfering with the curriculum.

'I would caution against arriving at over-simplified solutions when we don't know what is happening,' she said.

'The danger is saying girls should be held back or boys should be pushed further without understanding what is going on.'

The percentage of girls hitting the benchmark five A* to C grades at GCSE was 62.4 per cent this year, compared to 53.6 per cent among boys.

But Dr Griffin said gender differences should not be looked atin isolation from other issues affecting grades, such as social class or ethnic background. …

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