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No Crisis For Boys In Schools, Study Says

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¿ A gender gap still exists favoring boys in math, especially among 17-year-olds on the NAEP.

¿ The percentages of students scoring at higher levels of proficiency on the NAEP are rising for both boys and girls.

¿ Students from lower-income families -- families with incomes of $37,000 or less -- are less likely to be proficient in math and reading. Gender differences vary significantly by race and ethnicity.

¿ There is virtually no gap between boys and girls entering college immediately after high school.

Catherine Hill, director of research at the AAUW Educational Foundation, which provides funding for female graduate students to pursue research and other interests, said the study was undertaken to dispel myths so that education policy can be guided on facts. Hill, co-author of the report, said some schools have devoted more attention and money to boys, including creating single-sex classes, based on the notion of a crisis.

Reville, named chairman of the Massachusetts board of education in March, praised programs designed to improve boys' educational outcomes.

"Overall, the goal is to close all the gaps for anybody, irrespective of gender," he said. "But we can't ignore what is happening to boys."

AAUW's study does show female students outperforming male students in some measures. Women have earned 57 percent of bachelor's degrees since 1982 and outperformed boys on high school grade-point averages. In 2005, male students had a GPA of 2.86 and girls, 3.09.

The proportion of young men graduating from high school and earning college degrees is at an all-time high, the study notes. "Perhaps the most compelling argument against a boys crisis is that men continue to outearn women in the workplace," the report says.

Among all women and men working full time, year-round, median annual earnings for women were 77 percent of men's earnings in 2005. When looking at the college-educated, full-time work force a year out of college, women, on average, earned 80 percent of what men did in 2001. Women a decade out of college earned 69 percent of men's earnings in 2003. And men consistently earned more than women at differing educational levels and within race and ethnic groups, the study found.

Hill said that recent articles highlighting the success of female students in college have incorrectly suggested that men are being undercut as a result.

"What our report shows is that that is not the case," Hill said.

Researchers found that gender differences are strongly affected by race and ethnicity.

Math results from the NAEP show that white male students have an advantage over white female students, though there is less difference between Hispanic girls and boys.

From 1978 to 2004, among students age 13 and 17, white males scored higher on average than white females on 10 of 18 tests. For Hispanic students, 13- and 17-year-old males outscored females on three of the 18 tests. There was no gap among African American girls and boys.


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