Tapping the collective worldviews of six-year-old girls everywhere, a new study confirms that girls outperform boys in the classroom, reports New York Magazine's Science of Us blog. After compiling data from education systems globally, researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Glasgow in Scotland found that girls perform better than young boys in 70 percent of countries included in their study, “regardless of the level of gender, political, economic or social equality.” The three exceptions to their findings include Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
After studying the worldwide academic standings of 1.5 million 15-year-olds, researchers found that even in countries where girls weren’t afforded the same liberties as their male peers, they still outperformed boys in reading, mathematics, and science literacy, says David Geary, a Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri. A reader in psychology at the University of Glasgow, Gijsbert Stoet, adds that “a commitment to gender equality on its own is not enough to close the achievement gaps in global education; the gap is not increasing. Although it is vital that we promote gender equality in schools, we also need to make sure that we're doing more to understand why these gaps, especially among boys, persist and what other policies we can develop to close them."
[T]he fact that boys are falling behind "has strong implications for national economic prospects as well as social stability," the researchers write, "as young men who are not well integrated into the economic structures of their society are prone to crime and violence." In other words: There's lots of work to do all around.