chapter  14
10 Pages

Gender and achievement in the UK and Hong Kong

ByBECKY FRANCIS, PATTIE YUK-YEE LUK-FONG AND CHRISTINE SKELTON

Gender and achievement is a controversial issue. While second-wave feminists attended to the underachievement of girls, in recent years an international concern has developed in relation to the apparent underachievement of boys, to the extent that many commentators have identifi ed the fervor in media and policy surrounding this issue as a moral panic. The debate around boys’ underachievement was initiated in the early 1990s in the UK and in Australia, but is now well established in other countries too. Moreover, it has been shown to infl uence the understandings of student teachers, and teachers in the classroom, raising clear issues for teacher educators. Feminist researchers have argued that many of the concerns about boys are misplaced, and the tenor of the debate retrogressive. The overwhelming focus on attainment at the expense of other issues (such as identity and power) in these debates perpetuates ignorance and lack of concern for the ongoing reproduction of gender inequality by educational institutions.