Differences in academic performance between the sexes persist in some OECD member countries, pointed out the OECD on Thursday in a report based on analysis of the findings of 2012 Pisa poll on the differences between boys and girls. The report shows that the majority of children failing to reach Pisa standards in the three subjects tested (maths, science, written comprehension), are boys.
The precise figure is 6 out of 10 boys, which places Belgium slightly below the average of 55%.
The weaker performance of boys in comparison to girls could be explained by the differences in behaviour between the sexes. One example is the playing of video games – 71% of girls say they have never played a video game, compared to only 29% of boys.
It also appears that boys spend on average an hour less per week on their homework than girls (4.5hrs on average, and also in Belgium, compared to 5.5hrs on average and 6hrs in Belgium for the girls). It has been shown that each hour a week spent on homework results in an extra 4 points on the Pisa score in the three subjects tested.
The report also shows, however, that in most countries, including Belgium, in the category of over achievers, girls’ results are not as good as boys’, a finding which is attributed to the fact that girls tend to lack confidence in their ability to solve mathematical and scientific problems.
The report also showed that girls are more likely to get better marks in all subjects than boys because they are better behaved in class and more likely to moderate their behaviour. Another finding: boys under 15 are more likely to have had to re-sit at least one year than girls.
The report concludes, however, that academic performance is not solely determined by differences in innate ability, and that the combined efforts of teachers, families and also policymakers can help boys and girls to “fulfil their potential and contribute to economic growth and the welfare of society”.