chapter  2
'Boys' underachievement'
The explanations
Pages 32

This chapter provides a detailed summary and re-evaluation of the key explanations that have been proposed for boys' poor educational performance in light of the statistical evidence. A collection of explanations regarding boys' poor educational performance focuses more specifically on schools themselves. Schools, it is argued, are rather alien environments for boys. The advice that emanates from such explanations will simply act to distort the curriculum and thus fundamentally limit and distort the learning and development of boys and girls. Alongside encouraging more male teachers into primary schools, such an explanation has generated a number of 'tips' for increasing the profile of boys and men in schools. The period of the mid- to late 1980s is one where the differences in achievement between boys and girls grew significantly. During the second half of the 1980s this dropped significantly so that, by the end of the decade, there were on average around 80 boys to every 100 girls achieving the same.