Master Elin Borg
Title of dissertation:
Beyond a dual understanding of gender differences in School achievement: A study of the gender gap among youths in Oslo secondary Schools.
The underachievement of boys discourse holds two positions; that of feminist researchers that imply that the significance of the underachievement of males are exaggerated and that it blurres the fact that also some females perform below their potential in school, and that of quantitative researchers that are concerned with explaining the gender gap with explanatory variables in a comparative context between girls and boys. This thesis aims to move beyond a dual understanding of gender differences in school achievement, and explore how school performance is connected to attitudes and behaviour in school settings across gender.
More specifically, the three studies in this thesis examines: 1) what relationship is there between gender role attitude and achievement for male and female students?, 2) may the working harder approach explain gender differences in school achievement for secondary school students with different ethnic backgrounds?, and 3) how can students’ own perceptions of their behavior in classrooms across gender be helpful in explaining performance differences as compared to gender as a dichotomous category? Advanced statistical methods such as structural equation modelling, mediation analyses and latent class analyses were used to examine these research questions in samples of Oslo students, using survey data from Young in Oslo 2006 and Longitudinal Young in Oslo (LUNO).
The overall findings of this study show the importance of moing beyond a dual understanding of gender for school performance by providing new insights into how the relationship between a predictor and an outcome variable may vary between males and females (moderator effect), how a mediation effect between gender and school outcomes may differ between different ethnic groups, and how attitudes and behaviour in school may influence school performance across gender. Therefore, targeting the underperforming students within groups of girls and groups of boys are important to facilitate informed decision-making as to which interventions may be helpful in improving the performance of these students.