Girls Outperform Boys in the Classroom, Says New Study, But We've Still Got A Ways to Go

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 24: School pupils at the Bridge Learning Campus work together in a classroom at the school on February 24, 2010 in Bristol, England. The 40million GBP campus in Hartcliffe, Bristol, was constructed as part of the Government's Building Schools for the Future programme and opened in January 2009. It now offers over 800 pupils a life long provision of learning from nursery, reception and primary to secondary and post-16 education. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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."

So while women are performing well academically even in areas that inhibit them socially, it’s important to also consider the factors that are contributing to poor performance in boys. From Science of Us:

[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.
But lest you still doubt the accuracy of the above scientific data, forget not that definitive intelligence meter and beacon of human advancement, the Darwin Awards, which recently proved that women are categorically less likely to die of stupidity. Go girls.

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