Why Boys

Why Boys?

All educators share the common goal of providing equitable learning opportunities for every

student in the classroom. Providing equitable opportunities for girls is a familiar topic;

providing them for boys is a relatively recent issue, but one that is appearing with increasing

urgency on education agendas around the world.

An increasing volume of evidence indicates• Dropout rates are higher for boys than for girls.

What test scores tell us

The following provincial, national, and international assessments have produced results that

echo the findings listed above.

Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO): The results of assessments

administered to students in Grades 3 and 6 show that boys do not perform as well as girls

in reading and writing. (The results for mathematics do not show similar gaps.) The results

of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) also show that boys do not perform

as well as girls in reading and writing.

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS): The PIRLS assessment

conducted in 2001 revealed that Grade 4 girls performed better than boys in all thirty-four

countries where the assessment was administered, including Canada, where two Canadian

provinces, Ontario and Quebec, participated in the study.

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA): The results of the PISA

assessment conducted in 2000 show that girls performed better than boys on the reading

test in all countries and in all Canadian provinces.

School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP): In the 2002 SAIP writing assessment,

13- and 16-year-old girls across Canada scored higher than boys in the same age groups.

Why Boys?


The evidence of weaker reading and writing skills among boys provided by these and other

assessments has become an issue of major concern, since poor literacy skills can have a profound

effect on performance in other subjects, as well as on students’ success throughout

their lives.

Towards a solution

Addressing the needs of boys effectively will require dialogue and the collective expertise

and talents of all partners in the education process, including government, educators,

parents, and community members.

Among these partners, however, educators play a particularly important role in determining

how individual students develop as readers and writers. It is critical that we provide

classroom experiences that respond to the interests, needs, and learning styles of all

students, and that we explore ways to engage boys and girls equally as readers and writers.


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