Monday, September 17, 2012

gender gap

The "gender gap" (not to be confused with the "debt ceiling" or "fiscal cliff" but no doubt viewed for free as long as we fund our national parks) in writing is something I've noticed, informally, for many years. I've never studied it or surveyed a class or even averaged my grades by gender to see what is in fact the what, but it has always seemed like there were more engaged girls than boys in my college writing classes.

And here is some support from a study of 8th and 12th-graders. And here are a couple paragraphs from the cnn.com article that describes the study:

Education analyst Susan Pimentel, one of the team presenting the test scores on Friday’s NAEP conference call, said that while this test cannot determine cause and effect, there are some clues as to why the gap exists. Students were surveyed to find out some additional information about them as they took the test. Among those surveyed, said Pimentel, 53% of girls agreed or strongly agreed that “Writing is one of my favorite activities”, but only 35% of the boys felt that way. Since writing improves with practice, she said this is “an important variable to observe.”

According to the survey, 39% of 12th-graders said they write only one page of homework or less per week in English, which is also of concern as high school teachers focus on college readiness as one of the goals of the Common Core State Standards, said Pimentel.

And my final two cents:

In 2012, there is tremendous wage pressure on many different kinds of professions where writing is the primary job task, and yet, it still seems like good writing skills are a path to college and an important complementary skill to almost any career.

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