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Girls Rock, Boys Roll: An Analysis of the Age 14-16 Gender Gap in English Schools

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  • Simon Burgess
  • Brendon McConnell
  • Carol Propper
  • Deborah Wilson

    ()

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine gender related differences in performance at age 16. We investigate a number of possible explanations for the underachievement of boys relative to girls, the so-called ‘gender gap’. We employ a national dataset of the matched exam results of the entire cohort of pupils who took Key Stage 3 tests in 1999 and GCSEs in 2001: over half a million pupils in over 3000 schools. Our key result is the sheer consistency of the gender gap, across both the attainment and the ability distribution, with regard to both raw outcomes and value added. It is primarily driven by performance differentials in English. We show that it is not related to whether a school performs well or poorly, or whether it is effective or ineffective. Nor is it affected by any of the leading observable school characteristics. The generality of the gender gap suggests that its source is not within-school practice, which in turn means that policy directed at improving such practice may be misplaced.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp84.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 03/084.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:03/084

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Keywords: education; gender gap;

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Cited by:
  1. Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2005. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of the Tracking Age from a Finnish Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2013. "The Importance of Rank Position," CEP Discussion Papers dp1241, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Steven Proud, 2009. "Girl Power? An analysis of peer effects using exogenous changes in the gender make-up of the peer group," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/186, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Simon Burgess & Brendon McConnell & Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2004. "Sorting and Choice in English Secondary Schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/111, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Ammermüller, Andreas & Dolton, Peter J., 2006. "Pupil-teacher gender interaction effects on scholastic outcomes in England and the USA," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-60, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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