1996-3777 (online)
1990-8539 (print)
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A series of reports on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) periodic testing program on student performance. The reports generally compare student (15 year olds) academic performance across countries, or discuss the methodology used to gather the data.

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The ABC of Gender Equality in Education

The ABC of Gender Equality in Education

Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence You or your institution have access to this content

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05 Mar 2015
9789264229945 (PDF) ;9789264230026(print)

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This fascinating compilation of the recent data on gender differences in education presents a wealth of data, analysed from a multitude of angles in a clear and lively way. In particular it looks at underperformance among boys, lack of self confidence among girls and family, school and societal influences before addressing policies to help boys and girls reach their full potential.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    To compete successfully in today’s global economy, countries need to develop the potential of all of their citizens. They need to ensure that men and women develop the right skills and find opportunities to use them productively. Many countries are working towards achieving gender parity at the workplace and in access to jobs. In education, too, many countries have been successful in closing gender gaps in learning outcomes. Yet, as this report reveals, even when boys and girls are equally proficient in mathematics and science, their attitudes towards learning and aspirations for their future are markedly different – and that has a significant impact on their decisions to pursue further education and their choice of career.

  • Executive summary

    Over the past century, OECD countries have made significant progress in narrowing or closing long-standing gender gaps in many areas of education and employment, including educational attainment, pay and labour market participation. This one fact implies another: that aptitude knows no gender. Given equal opportunities, boys and girls, men and women have equal chances of achieving at the highest levels.

  • Reader's Guide
  • Emerging gender gaps in education

    This chapter examines trends in achievement among girls and boys and identifies the school subjects – and the specific sets of skills associated with those subjects – in which boys and girls appear to excel – or fail.

  • Tackling underperformance among boys

    This chapter examines gender differences in the activities in which boys and girls engage outside of school, in their ability to regulate their behaviour and emotions, in engagement with school and attitudes towards learning, and in the marks boys and girls receive in school. All of these ultimately have an impact on students’ futures, both in school and beyond.

  • Girls' lack of self-confidence

    This chapter examines how girls’ lack of self-confidence in their own ability in science and mathematics may be responsible for the observed underachievement among girls in these subjects, particularly among highachieving girls.

  • Expectations and reality for school-leavers

    This chapter explores the differences between 15-year-old boys’ and girls’ expectations for further education and their careers, and their preparedness to search for a job – and reveals whether adolescent expectations become reality after teenagers become adults. The chapter also describes young men’s and women’s levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy after they leave compulsory schooling and examines gender differences in how adults use their skills at work. Financial literacy among 15-year-olds is also discussed.

  • How family, school and society affect boys' and girls' performance at school

    This chapter examines various factors in the family, the school and throughout society that may be related to gender differences in student performance. These factors include the socio-economic status of a family and parents’ expectations for their child, the socio-economic profile of schools and teaching practices at school, and the level of gender equality in society.

  • Policies and practices to help boys and girls fulfil their potential

    This chapter examines gender gaps in reading and mathematics performance from wider perspectives: across countries and over time. It also discusses the policy implications of the PISA findings that boys tend to underachieve in reading and high-performing girls tend to underachieve in mathematics and some areas of science and problem solving.

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