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

Author

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

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Brendon McConnell & Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "Girls Rock, Boys Roll: An Analysis of the Age 14-16 Gender Gap in English Schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/084, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:03/084
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    File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp84.pdf
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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. Tuomas Pekkarinen, 2008. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of Tracking from a Finnish Quasi-experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 807-825, December.
    3. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Ammermüller, Andreas & Dolton, Peter J., 2006. "Pupil-teacher gender interaction effects on scholastic outcomes in England and the USA," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-060, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. 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.
    6. Proud, S., 2014. "Girl Power? An Analysis Of Peer Effects Using Exogenous Changes In The Gender Make-Up Of The Peer Group," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(3), pages 5-18.
    7. Cheti Nicoletti & Birgitta Rabe, 2013. "Inequality in Pupils' Test Scores: How Much do Family, Sibling Type and Neighbourhood Matter?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(318), pages 197-218, April.
    8. Juan Sebastian Munoz, 2014. "Re-estimating the Gender Gap in Colombian Academic Performance," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-469, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2013. "The Importance of Rank Position," CEP Discussion Papers dp1241, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; gender gap;

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise

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