Girls better readers than boys in standardized tests and in the classroom


Classroom

A new study finds that girls perform significantly better than boys in the U.S. on standardized tests of reading and writing abilities.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress collected standardized test scores from students in the fourth, eighth, and twelfth grades over the past 27 years.

Griffith University in Australia researchers found that girls fared markedly better in both reading and writing in the fourth grade, only to see the gap widen in eighth and twelfth grades, especially when it came to writing.

University of St. Thomas associate professor and director of reading and field experiences Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez said boys just aren't refining their reading skills.

There might also be gender biases. Do teachers call on girls more for reading and writing and boys for math and science?

Gonzalez said boys’ energy levels are more heightened than girls, especially at younger ages. Boys tend to have to see and experience reading, not just hear it.

“Therefore, you have to make things like reading and writing a physical activity for them. Their idea of ‘oh, I’m going to sit here and read this for 30 minutes?’ It’s very different for boys to be able to do that than for girls,” said Gonzalez.

She said teachers play a big role if students like to read or not.

“Boys tend to be better at things that are very physically induced,” said Gonzalez. “The tendency is for them to gravitate towards STEM-science and math.”

She said reading tendencies do change into adulthood.

“The progression is learning to read and then reading to learn, and then reading for enjoyment,” said Gonzalez.

American Psychological Association shows girls use both brain hemispheres for reading and writing, while boys typically rely on just one.


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