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Title: The academic underachievement of boys and the impact of educational transition
Author: Comber, Chris
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2001
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In recent years there has been a growing concern over boys' underachievement at school, shown in a widening gender gap which is found in many subject areas, including those which have traditionally been regarded as areas of male strength. Research also indicates that periods of educational transition, especially those which involve a clear institutional or cultural shift, affect pupils' attitudes towards and enthusiasm for learning, as well as on their identity as male or female. The present study investigates the relationship between these factors via three Case Studies, with a particular focus on the impact of two educational transitions, namely that between primary and secondary school, and that between KS4 and 6th Form, on the attitudes of boys and girls towards school and schooling, and towards themselves. In general terms, the findings from these studies confirmed previous research which shows boys to express a self-confidence in their ability which is often at odds with their actual performance. More specifically, there was evidence that primary/secondary transfer heralded the beginning of a decline in interest in learning which was particularly pronounced among boys, and which may for some develop into an anti-school disposition from which it is difficult to recover. The study further found that a recovery in the performance of boys on entry to 6th Form was accompanied by a positive attitudinal shift. In particular, some boys appeared to have achieved a resolution of earlier conflicts between the development and maintenance of an acceptable masculine identity and the demands of a school system characterised as feminine. It is suggested that through understanding the process by which boys reach this point of resolution, more effective work with male learners at earlier stages of their educational career may be explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available