Gender Games: Boys Lose

Boys and their adventurous minds and spirits are being expected to sit down quietly and learn how to read and write at a young age in American schools. Most boys are starting school at the age of five.  Although they have recess and play time, the majority of the school day is focused on learning in a sedative style which isn’t beneficial towards the male gender, causing boys to fall behind academically.

According to a recent online poll conducted by, “50 percent of respondents believe that boys are falling behind girls academically; another 35% believe that there is a growing gap.”   This is because boys are expected to sit down and learn how to read and write. “The structure of the male brain includes more cortical areas associated with spatial-mechanical function, which makes boys want to play with movement through the space around them” (Sosnowski).  Instead of boys sitting down in a classroom for hours straight, they should have times to work with their hands and move around while also still learning. During their first couple of years in school, boys should be using their energy to work with their hands and have the opportunity to learn more vocational skills.

Since boys’ learning styles aren’t being met, the majority of them will get in trouble and yelled at. Mr. Harvey claims, “There is research that single sex classrooms benefits both sexes. Boys have an easier time focusing without the young women around and they would compete more with each other.” After Primary school comes middle school and because of the way they are wired, “Girls are more interested in pleasing parents than boys are. Girls are taught this at a young age.  They work harder so when girls get achievements they are proud of them, but boys are taught when they get an achievement to be manly about it because it isn’t “cool” to be proud of an achievement.”

Boys now lag behind girls on every single academic measure; they also get in trouble and drop out of school much more frequently than girls. However, boys today aren’t fundamentally different than the boys of 150 years ago.

Data shows that more girls are attending college than boys, “Women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some 2.2 million fewer men than women will be enrolled in college this year…Campuses are now nearly 60 percent female, with women earning 170,000 more bachelor degrees each year than men.” This is because boys are at a disadvantage at such a young age. Another piece of data is from “The Atlantic” which states, “72.5 percent of females who recently graduated from high school were enrolled in college, versus 65.8 percent of men (compared to 1967, when 57 percent of the males and 47.2 percent of the females were in college)”.  Girls typically are in more honors and AP classes than boys, “The school’s advanced placement classes, which admit only the most qualified students, are often 70 percent to 80 percent girls. This includes calculus. And in AP biology, there was not a single boy”.

There could be solution to help boys keep up with the girls and make almost everything equal, from graduating to going to college. Boys’ and girls’ brains do function in different ways, so they learn very differently. Girls are more passive learners; they are usually good visual and auditory learners and do well with lots of class discussions and diagrams. Boys are more kinetic learners, and they need to learn by doing. Single sex classes would help boys and girls. If your cater the class to the girls interests you will lose the boys and if you cater to the boys interests you will lose the girls. That is why boys are so successful in vocational schools.

In conclusion, we looked at the data from Ipswich High school of who is in honor and AP classes. The data proves our research.  There are more girls in honors and AP classes. Ipswich High School’s AP classes are 61% females and 37% males in those classes. In English lit comp there are 4 boys and 9 girls. The only class that males have more students in overall in tech Ed, but other than that girls are majority of AP and honors.

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