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Does the school system benefit girls more than boys?
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Testing vs classroom

Girls excel in the classroom, while boys excel in the exam hall. The system does not disproportionally benefit one sex, but one sex excels in some aspects while the other sex excels in other aspects.


There is evidence to suggest that girls may do better in the classroom, but boys do better at testing. Therefore, depending on how courses are structured, sometimes female students have the advantage, but just as often, male students have the advantage.

The Argument

Taking tests taps into the competitive nature of young boys. The public display of achievement motivates boys to work harder and thrive under the stresses of exam season. As a result, boys tend to outperform females on tests. By contrast, girls experience higher levels of exam stress, which hinders their performance. They are better at working at their own pace, often in collaboration with others, and as such, perform better in classroom tasks and on coursework.[1] The school system as a whole is not built to favour boys or girls. Depending on the course structure, sometimes boys have the advantage and sometimes girls do.

Counter arguments

If boys do better on tests and girls do better on coursework, why aren’t courses designed to give equal weight to both? Very few courses are designed to grade students on their classwork and exams in equal measure. Most are weighted towards one format or the other. If we know that boys perform better on tests and girls perform better on coursework, the only way to build a fair and equal school system is to ensure that both are prominent assessment components.



[P1] Boys do better at tests and girls do better at coursework. [P2] Therefore, depending on the course structure, boys are favoured as often as girls. [P3] Therefore, the school system is not weighted against boys.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] If the school system wanted to be fair, it would ensure that all courses are assessed with equal parts coursework and equal parts testing.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 24 Sep 2019 at 14:12 UTC

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